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1/1 E> RARY 

OF THE 
UNIVERSITY 
Of ILLINOIS 



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v.2 



GSLEY 



ness of life in 
w books of the 



ts literary excellence, 
arnestness of purpose, 
onformiit. 
—Saturday Review. 



Recollections. For 
consummation of all 
:nt permitted to flag, 
id sent them forth to 
rhich have come into 



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them, sucl 
kind pleas 

AUSTI 



"Ab 

the consi 

the geni; 

"Thi 

Geofi 



"A r | __ 

prodigali ""~ """" ~ "™ ~™ 

things m 

startle an 

our hand: _ ^ __ s . 6 .. .... 

The Hillyars and the Burtons. 

A Story of Two Families. Third Edition. Cr. 8vo. 

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Ravenshoe. 

Fourth Edition. Crown 8vo. 

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Leighton Court. 

Third Edition. Crown 8vo. 

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"Any reader desiring in a tale interesting incident, excellent writing, graphic delineation of 
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TWO MARRIAGES. 

New Edition. 
"In these days of sensation novels it is refreshing to take up a work of fiction, 
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AGATHA'S HUSBAND. 

Eleventh Edition. 
' ' One of Miss Muloch's admired fictions, marked by pleasant contrasts of light 
and shade — scenes of stirring interest and pathetic incidents. The theme is one 
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OLIVE. 

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is written with eloquence and power." — Review. 

HEAD OF THE FAMILY. 

Eleventh Edition. 
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a very remarkable and powerful book, with all the elements necessary for a great 
and lasting popularity. Scenes of domestic happiness, gentle and tender pathos, 
abound throughout it, and are, perhaps, the best and highest portions of the 
tale." — Guardian. 

THE OGILVIES. 

Tenth Edition. 
"The book is charming. It is written with deep earnestness and pervaded by 
a noble and loving philosophy ; while, in giving form to her conceptions, the 
writer evinces at once a fine and subtle imagination, and that perception of 
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BY 

MRS. GORDON SMYTHIES, 

AUTHOR OF "COUSIN GEOFFREY," " THE JILT," "THE LIFE OF A BEAtfTX 
"TRUE TO THE LAST," &C. 



u Faith is the star that gleams above, 
Hope is the flower that buds below : 
Twin tokens of celestial love 

That out from Nature's bosom grow, 
And still alike in sky and sod, 
That star and blossom ever point to God." 

Poems by Charles Kent. 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 
VOL. II. 



LONDON : 

TINSLEY BROTHERS, 18, CATHERINE STREET, STRAND. 
1870. 

[All right* of Translation and Reproduction are reserved.'] 



LOUDON : 

SAYJLE AND BDWABDS, PRINTERS, CHAXDOS STREET, 

COTENT GARDEN. 



?13 



ACQUITTED 




CHAPTER I. 

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all." 

Shakspeare. 

OW long the unfortunate trustee had 

remained insensible lie did not 

know. 

Fortunately for the preservation of his 

dreadful secret, no one came into the room 

but Carlo, a favourite old poodle. 

Carlo was a noble specimen of a noble 
race. He was a very large and beautiful 
dog, covered with clustering brown corkscrew 
curls. He was singularly faithful and in- 
telligent, and when he saw his master lying 
back in his chair to all appearance lifeless, 
he whined in sympathy and licked the cold 

VOL. II. 1 



ACQUITTED. 



hand that hung over the arm of the chair. 
Finding that this delicate attention produced 
no effect, he leapt up with a cry of mingled 
surprise and pain, and placing his broad 
well-feathered paws on his master's shoulders, 
with his warm, moist, peach-blossom tongue 
licked his face over and over again, removing 
by that process Mr. Penryn's spectacles, 
which fell under the table. 

The morning breeze came in opportunely 
to second Carlo's efforts, and the cool air, 
playing on the cheeks and brow, moistened 
by Carlo's tongue, a tickling sensation was 
produced, which restored life and conscious- 
ness to the unfortunate victim of a clever 
scoundrel, and of his own weakness and 
credulity. 

It was a comfort to Mr. Penryn to think 
that no eye but that earnest loving canine 
orb, of a colour matching his chocolate coat, 
had witnessed his swoon. 

He picked up the Penzance Chronicle, and 
put it in his pocket. 



ACQUITTED. 



"Paul must know nothing of this," he 
said to himself. " It would break his young 
heart ! Let me see. Ann Penryn is Paul's 
junior by three years. She's not sixteen. 
She can't demand her money till she's of 
age. I've five years at least before me. 
There's no knowing what may happen 
in five years ! She may not live, and 
in that case the money's mine by James's 
will, or she might marry Paul before she's 
of age if they fancy one another, and then it 
would be to Paul I should have to tender an 
account, and Paul would forgive his wretched 
father, and Ann would love him and want 
for nothing ! Oh, Downy Downy ! could you 
have meant io ruin, to disgrace, to swindle me, 
to beggar the child of the friend you loved, so 
that you could not speak of him or his orphan 
without a tear. Oh, it's impossible ! The 
Chronicle is too hard on a fallen man. I'm 
certain Downy thought to treble poor little 
Ann's money. I'm convinced he meant 
well ! But I — Oh, Father in heaven ! — what 

1—2 



ACQUITTED. 



shall / do ? How shall I, miserable wretch 
that I am, with every acre of land and every 
shilling bound up, how shall / ever replace 
that thousand pounds ? How pay even the 
half-yearly dividend as heretofore ! And if 
I do not, what a lost, disgraced, and ruined 
wretch I shall be V 

The tears gushed from his eyes as he 
thought of these things, and hearing Paul 
coming downstairs, he hastily opened the 
hall door (a glass one that looked on the 
garden) and hurried into the shrubbery ! 

Paul saw there was something wrong 
with his father when they met at break- 
fast. 

Not hearing on inquiry of old Patience 
of any letters having arrived, or of any 
strangers having called, he feared his father's 
extreme pallor, and fitful, altered manner, his 
total loss of appetite, and the icy coldness of 
his trembling hand, were the forerunners of 
a severe illness. 

There was a species of typhus fever at 



ACQUITTED. 



Rockness, and two cases had proved fatal 
in a remote part of Pencombe. 

Paul felt very uneasy, although his father 
declared that he was not ill. 

Mr. Penryn tried to give Paul his custo- 
mary three hours of classical instruction . 

The effort was a vain one. 

After half an hour, in which he was ex- 
cited, absent, and deeply dejected by turns, 
he suddenly rose, saying, " I'm not up to the 
mark, Paul, to-day. I'm out of sorts — I shall 
go and take a walk by the sea." 

He then snatched up his hat and stick, 
and went out. 

Paul, thus released, resolved to go down 
to Xatt Lynn's cottage, to ascertain whether 
Mary was come back, and to hear her ac- 
count of her stay at the Castle, and her 
prospects for the future. 

As it was Saturday, he fully expected to 
find her either on the beach or at home. 

He knew how eager she was to get home 
to help her mother, but this time he was 



ACQUITTED. 



aware that she would find nothing to do, for 
Rosy had confided to him how hard she had 
worked and what wonders she had done, in 
order that Mary might have nothing to do 
but to enjoy her holiday. 

Paul Penryn overtook Mary on her way 
from the Castle to the beach. 

She was alone, and he thought she looked 
rather depressed. 

She was in deep mourning too ; as an in- 
mate of the Castle she, of course, could not 
be otherwise. 

Her mourning was very handsome and 
very fashionably made, and exquisitely fitted 
to her sylph-like form. 

It made the whiteness of her skin seem 
the more remarkable, and Paul thought 
Mary looked not only very interesting, but 
very ladylike and beautiful in her handsome 
black suit. He questioned her very closely 
about her visit, and ascertained that although 
at first she was very happy at the Castle, and 
every one very kind to her there, that since 



ACQUITTED. 



the arrival of Lady Derwent (Jasper's sup- 
posed wife) and her children, she had 
longed very much to get away and to 
return home. 

" Miss Osgood," said Mary, "has, how- 
ever, so convinced me that I can never do 
much for my parents hy mere labour, and 
that I may make them so independent and 
comfortable in their old age if I am fitted to 
be a governess (and she says she can and 
will fit me to be one), that I have promised 
to go back and to try to bear all patiently. 
Lady Derwent, she thinks, wont stay long, 
and when she's gone I shall not have any 
one to despise me and sneer at me, and try 
to make the young ladies make fun of me." 

As Mary spoke, tears filled her beautiful 
eyes, and Paul felt his heart swell with rage 
against the cruel, haughty woman who could 
deliberately wound so gentle, amiable, and 
lovely a girl as Mary Lynn. 

" What has she said and done to wound 
your feelings, Mary L}mn ?" he said. " Tell 



A '-QUITTED. 



me all ; it will comfort you to open your 
heart to a true friend, and as you are only 
sixteen, Mary, and I am so much older, I 
may be able to advise you." 

Paul was nineteen. 

Mary was, as Paul had said, sixteen, but 
she was very tali for her age, and to make 
her look womanly, so that the little ladies 
might respect her, her new mourning had 
been made with the skirt very long. 

" Oh, Master Paul V said Mary, " it's very 
kind of you to wish to comfort and advise 
me, but what Lady Derwent does and says, 
though it hurts me so that I can hardly 
bear it, wont seem much when it's repeated. 
It's her haughty, scornful looks and manner 
that make me feel it so ! I'm so used to 
kindness at home, and you, Master Paul, 
for all you're a gentleman and I'm a 
poor girl, a fisherman's child, you are as 
kind and gentle to me as if I were a born 
lady." 

" And so any one of birth and breeding 



ACQUITTED. 



ought to be," said Paul. " But tell me all 
about it, Mary." 

"Well, Mister Paul, it began by her 
ladyship being very angry, because at first 
she mistook me for one of the young ladies, 
and kissed me, and said, Why, you're the 
flower of the flock, my Lily Queen ! Are 
you Lady Julia ? I thought she was much 
older. Come, kiss me, my pet !" 

"Capital," said Paul. "What fun! 
What did you say, Mary Lynn?" 

" I said I beg your pardon, my lady ; I 
am only Mary Lynn." 

" Mary Lynn ! why, what do you do here 
then ?" she asked. 

" Please, my lady," I replied, " I help 
]\Iiss Osgood in the schoolroom. I teach 
Lady Beatrice and Lady Florence to read, 
and I take care of them in their play 
hours." 

" And what's your father, girl ? said my 
lady, very rudely, and almost pushing me 
away." 



10 ACQUITTED. 



" My father's a fisherman, my lady/ 5 I 
said. " His name is Natt Lynn." 

" It ought to be Natt Fin," she said, 
laughing so loud ; " and you ought to be 
called Mary Fin." 

" By this time Lady Beatrice and Lady 
Florence, my little pupils, had come in, 
and they laughed too, and called out ' Mary 
Fin ! Mary Fin !' I had been trying not 
to cry, and my cheeks were very hot, and 
I felt very much ashamed; but I did not 
give way till my little pupils — set on by 
Lady Derwent — pointed at me and cried, 
' Mary Fin, Mary Fin ! and then I couldn't 
help it. I burst out crying, and said I would 
go home. They were very sorry then, for 
they have very kind hearts, and they 
cried too, and begged me not to go. And 
just at this moment in came my Lord 
and Lady Altamount, and Lord Derwent 
and Miss Osgood, and they would know 
why we were all three crying. Lady 
Beatrice, who had her arms round my neck, 



ACQUITTED. 11 

hearing Lady Derwent say, ' Oh, it's that 
great cry-baby Mary Lynn has set them 
off,' turned round, she's very high 
spirited, and told the whole story. Lady 
Altamount said it was a very bad joke ; 
and my Lord Derwent said, ' I am ashamed 
of you, Augusta,' to her ladyship. And added, 
1 Whatever Mary's father is, she's a dear 
sweet girl, and I wish every real lady were 

as ladv-like.' ' 

j 

" Come," said Paul, " I like him for that, 
and I'm rejoiced you got the best of it, 
Mary, and came off with flying colours !" 

"Oh, but, Master Paul," said Mary, "it 
has made Lady Derwent hate me. She's 
always talking at me, and trying to set 
Lady Altamount against me. And if it 
wasn't for Miss Osgood I'd never go 
back." 

"Oh, Mary Lynn," said Paul, "that's 
not the way to bear trials. You must be 
meek and patient, and show courage and 
fortitude, and a proper spirit too sometimes, 



12 ACQUITTED. 



Mary. And remember that noble line in, a 
poem of Campbell's I taught you — 

"' ' To bear is to conquer our fate !' " 

" I will try to bear it all, Master Paul," 
said Mary Lynn, after a pause. " But I'm 
only a poor weak girl. I'm not a learned, brave 
young gentleman like you, Master Paul." 

'Moan of Arc was a young girl, Mary," 
said Paul. " So was Lady Jane Grey ; and 
in Pox's ' Book of Martyrs' } t ou can see 
how many of the bravest were of the female 
sex. So don't give in on that account, Mary. 
Men may have more courage to dare, but 
women have more fortitude to endure. But 
here we are. See how nice and clean and 
tidy Bosy has made the children, and how 
neat she is herself." 

It was a perfect feast of love that awaited 
Mary Lynn in that cottage home. 

Her mother loved her so tenderly, not 
exactly as she loved her other children, but 
with a something of admiring trust in, and 



ACQUITTED. 



reverence for Mary's intellectual powers and 
true nobility of heart. 

Natt Lynn too had a sort of compunc- 
tion in his honest breast when he saw one 
whom he suspected to be of noble birth 
throw her arms round his neck and press 
her soft cheek to his weather-beaten face, 
and sit on his knee and call him "Daddy !" 

Eosy had worked very hard to surprise 
Mary, and give her a real holiday. 

The children too clun^ to Mary. 

A nice dinner had been got ready. 

Paul was asked to partake, which he was 
delighted to do. 

And never was a happier party. Natt's 
fish was so fresh, and Polly had fried it so 
beautifully ; and the baked potatoes were so 
good with fresh butter ; and then there was 
ginger-beer, and jam and clotted cream — 
for ^Natt had a cow now, and Pollv a dairy. 

And after dinner they, that is, Mary and 
Eosy, with the children and Paul, wan- 
dered among the rocks, and on their way 



14 ACQUITTED. 



home they met with Minna, alias Mrs. 
Tibbs. 

She sat down with them, and sang to 
them, and talked with Mary; and but that 
Paul feared he might be late for his father's 
dinner, he would have liked to have stayed 
much longer. 

But Paul had a watch, and he saw by it 
that he had barely time to get home, so he 
tore himself away, and it was agreed that 
he should join Mary and the others on the 
morrow after morning church for a stroll on 
the beach, and take tea with them, all but 
Minna, at Lynn's cottage when the after- 
noon service was over. 

On Sunday there was little cooking at 
Peniwn Manor House. Old Patience was 
a regular daily church-goer herself, and a 
cold dinner was always served at two o'clock 
on Sunday. 

Paul ran almost all the way back to 
Penryn Manor. 



ACQUITTED. 



CHAPTER II. 

" These shall the fury passions tear, 
The vultures of the mind, 
Disdainful anger, pallid fear, 

And shame that skulks behind." 

Gray. 

" L'homme propose et Dieu dispose." 




AUL was unable to join the little 
party either after morning or after- 
noon church. 
Mr. Penryn was seriously ill on Sunday, 
and his son could not leave him. 

The anguish of his mind caused by the 
reproaches of his conscience, aggravated by 
a violent cold which he had caught through 
rushing out in his disquietude and despair 
without his overcoat (in a cold east wind), 
had brought on an attack of pleurisy. 



16 ACQUITTED. 



He had no doubt greatly increased the 
evil by trying to drown care in a mixture 
similar to that with which Downy had con- 
trived to silence the scruples of his con- 
science, and to mould him to his own bad 
will. 

While Paul w T as with the Lynns and 
Minna, his father had descended to the 
cellar, and of the few remaining bottles of 
old Cognac and Jamaica rum, he had carried 
tw r o into his own room. 

He had mixed a strong jug of punch 
before dinner, and Paul was much distressed 
at table to find his usually white, quiet 
father, flushed, excited, talkative, rather 
quarrelsome and fault-finding, and smelling 
of spirits. 

After dinner Mr. Peniyn fell asleep, and 
Paul took a book to beguile the time. 

Mr. Penryn woke at teatime, cold, shiver- 
ing, and depressed. 

He ordered a fire in his room, and a kettle 
of boilinsr water. 



ACQUITTED. 17 



Paul was horrified to see him slily take 
and pocket a lemon from the sideboard, 
and carry away the sugar-dish with him. 

AVhen he was gone, old Patience, whom 
nothing ever escaped, said, " Whatever do 
master want with hot water and sugar and 
a lemon ? I'se afraid he's after making some 
more punch, and he've had one strong brew 
to-day already. It's all along of that Mr, 
Downy coming here. Master's never 
been the same gentleman since ! I wish, 
Master Paul, the last thing you do, just see 
that master's candle's out ; we may all be 
burnt to death in our beds else." 

Mr. Penrvn's illness was a very long and 
a very severe one. 

At one time his life was in great danger, 
and his agony of mind at the thought of Ann 
Penryn beggared bg him, kept up the fever, 
which was often accompanied by delirium, 
and in which he raved about his brother 
and that brother's orphan girl, his own dear 
departed wife, and his Aunt Priscilla. 

VOL. J i. 2 



18 ACQUITTED. 



Paul scarcely quitted his father's bed- 
side. 

His devotion to his only parent was very 
beautiful and very touching. 

Dr. Dodd and the medical man from 
Kockness came daily, and they proposed a 
consultation with a great London physician. 

All these expenses completely exhausted 
a little fund which had long been accumu- 
lating for the purpose of paying Paul's 
expenses, equipment, and other necessary 
disbursements which would attend on his 
going to Oxford to try for the open scholar- 
ship there, which had so long been his own 
and his father's object. 

Paul wanted a year of the required age, 
and a good year's close study to feel himself 
prepared to compete. 

Alas ! how are his prospects blighted ! 
and who, when guilty of a crime or even 
a fault, can see how far or in what direction 
the evil results may spread ! Like a stone 
thrown into the water, the first circle is at 



ACQUITTED. 19 



our very feet, but far, far beyond our ken, 
the waters are stirred by our thoughtless 
act ! 

Mr. Penryn rose from his bed, it is true. 

The Doctors came at longer intervals, and 
at last ceased to come at all ! 

He had been prayed for in church, and 
he appeared there (the ghost of his former 
self) to return thanks. 

Friends, few and far between, who had 
called to inquire and to condole, now came 
to congratulate ; but Paul saw that his 
chance of the scholarship was gone ! 

His father was quite unequal to the 
labour of finishing his preparation in time 
for the examination. He could not do it 
himself without aid. 

Three very precious months had glided 
away with that rapidity with which months 
of anguish and suspense do glide away. 

The little household was much impo- 
verished by its master's long illness. 

Paul, who had inherited all his mother's 



20 ACQUITTED. 



horror of debt (which, like .Richelieu, he 
called " theft"), began very seriously to pon- 
der over his own powers, and to ask him- 
self, " What can I do ?" Very, very bitter 
was it to him to resign all his present 
hopes of an Oxford career ! but he felt 
that on some fair future day the arms of 
Alma Mater might yet be opened to receive 
him, if he could in the meantime find any 
means of earning a sum large enough to 
meet the inevitable expenses of going there 
to compete, and the more pressing demands 
of creditors at home. 

Yes, he felt deeply that at present filial 
affection, prudence, honour, and honesty 
called upon him to do something at this 
crisis to help to pay the debts incurred 
during his father's illness. 

They w T ere not heavy ; they would have 
seemed unimportant trifles to most youths 
of his age, but to Paul they were a load 
beneath which his young heart felt op- 
pressed and his joyous spirits weighed down. 



ACQUITTED. 



Often and often in pondering these 
matters in his brave, honest young mind, 
he thought that if he could leave Penryn 
for a year or two, and get into some situa- 
tion as a clerk or an usher, he might study 
hard in his leisure hours and earn enough 
in that time to pay off these teasing debts 
and to defray the expenses of going to Ox- 
ford to compete for an open scholarship at 

College, where the candidates were 

two years older than at Baliol. 

Paul had often heard his father speak of 
a very old friend of his, a great London 
merchant — Colin Cottrell by name. 

A self-made man, who had begun life 
with nothing but a strong will, a stout 
heart, and a great fuud of industry and self- 
den iai. 

He had risen as such men do rise, and 
now was one of our commercial magnates. 

His wharves and his warehouses (situate 
in Thames Street) were known all over the 
civilized world. 



22 ACQUITTED. 



Paul, after many restless days and sleep- 
less nights, resolved on asking his father to 
write to Mr. Cottrell, to know whether he 
had a vacancy for a youth of Paul's age, as 
a paid clerk. 

" Two years," said Paul to himself — 
" two years of hard work and spare living 
would enable me to pay all, and perhaps 
put by enough to compete for some other 
scholarship where the candidates are a little 
older than at Baliol." 

Meanwhile Mr. Penryn, weakened by 
illness, was a prey to secret terrors and 
misgivings, vain regrets and profitless re- 
morse. 

He had exhausted all that remained of 
the old Cognac and Jamaica rum. 

He had no means (luckily for him) of 
continuing the use of such stimulants. 

All the money appropriated to house- 
keeping was regularly paid to old Patience 
out of the produce of the farm. 

Mr. Penryn did not dare ask her to fetch 



ACQUITTED. 23 



him spirits from the Chequers or the Alta- 
mount Arms. 

Still less could he, Penryn of Penryn, 
enter either of those public-houses. 

The beer which he and Paul drank was 
home-brewed, and they had no wine left 
but elder or currant — excellent of its kind — 
made by old Patience, and not very liberally 
supplied by her, being reserved for birth- 
days and other fetes. 

It was fortunate for Mr. Penryn that he 
could not privately obtain brandy or other 
spirits. He would soon have become 
lunatic or paralysed. 

As it was, he was in a very low-spirited, 
dejected, irritable state, on the verge of 
melancholia, and always in terror lest Paul 
should discover bis dreadful secret. 

He shed many tears — for he was still 
veiy weak — when Paul laid the case firmly 
but respectfully before him, but he at once 
agreed to his son's wish and wrote to Mr. 



Cottrell. 



24 ACQUITTED. 



A few days elapsed, and one bright morn- 
ing the postman brought Mr. Penryn two 
letters. 

Mr. Penryn was walking np and down 
the avenue watching for the postman. 

He was now always nervously anxious 
for letters. 

These two were given to him at the gate. 

Paul, from his window, saw his father 
open and read them, and put them into his 
pocket. 

After breakfast, during which repast Mr. 
Penryn was nervous, tremulous, and ex- 
citable, nothing was said about the letters ; 
but when Paul was about to go to his own 
room to study, Mr. Penryn said — 

''Paul, give me my hat and stick. It's 
so bright and fine I shall go and take a 
turn by the sea. I don't feel at all the 
thing." 

Paul obeyed. 

His father, before going out, put one of 
the letters which he had received that 



ACQUITTED. 25 



morning- into bis desk, and handed the 
other to his son, savins — 

"Read this, my dear boy. It's from 
Cottrell; and ponder on its very unsatis- 
factory contents." 

Mr. Penryn passed out at the hall-door, 
and Paul, watching him till he had left the 
garden by a postern gate, hurried across 
the lawn to a honeysuckle bower. Paul 
opened the letter, and read and re-read it, 
and then he ^rew deadly pale and a spasm 
was at his heart and at his throat. 

A light flashed in upon his mind ! 

His father, alwa} T s careless, and very con- 
fused in his head since his illness, had made 
a mistake ! 

He had put Mr. Cottrell's letter in his 
desk, and had handed Paul one from Sligo 
Downy, dated New York. 

The hands — both mercantile — were a 
good deal alike, and the paper of both 
letters was thin and bluish. 

Mr. Penryn had unconsciously put 



26 ACQUITTED. 



Downy's letter in Mr. Cottrell's envelope, 
and vice versa. 

In Downy's letter he alluded to the 
selling out Iry Mr. Penryn of his niece 
Ann's thousand pounds stock. 

He tried to excuse his own conduct in 
advising the investment in which it had 
been swamped. 

He said he himself was starving in a 
garret in New York, and he implored Mr. 
Penryn to send him a small sum of money 
by return. 

Paul had borne up manfully hitherto. 

Now shame bows the young head and 
burns into the cheeks, and for a few minutes 
prostrates the manly spirit. 

Hot tears gush from his eyes, and he 
clasps his cold hands over them as if to 
shut out the picture of that beloved father 
— disgraced, despised, perhaps arrested, and 
imprisoned ! He did not know that a breach 
of trust is not punishable as a felony — a 
distinction without a difference. 



ACQUITTED. 27 



Now he understands his father's an- 
guish. 

Now he can gauge his misery, his de- 
spair. 

Paul hurries into the shrubbery out of 
sight of all but One eye. 

He sinks on his knees, and prays for 
faith, guidance, help, comfort, and pa- 
tience ! 

He rises like him of old who gained 
new strength every time he touched his 
mother earth ; and all his shame, his terror, 
his pity, and his love for his father had 
culminated in the strong resolve of a brave 
mind, to replace that thousand pounds of 
Ann Penryn's. 

No matter at what cost. 

Xo matter by what sweat of brow or 
brain, what hard labour and hard living. 

What self-denial for the next five years. 

He inwardly vows, with the help of his 
Father in heaven, to replace that thousand 
pounds before his earthly parent can be 



28 ACQUITTED. 

called upon for it, and thus save him from 
disgrace and infam}', and his cousin, Ann 
Penryn, from beggaiy. 

Paul resolves not to let his father know 
— at least not just then — that he has thus 
accidentally discovered his terrible secret. 

Later perhaps he may own the fact ; but 
not till he has done something — ever so 
little — towards replacing that sum. 

Paul then hurried back to the library. 

Mr. Penryn had left the key in his 
desk. 

Paul, with a trembling hand and a burn- 
ing cheek, puts in Downy' s letter and takes 
out Mr. Cottrell's. 

Mr. Cottrell said he had no vacancy 
worthy of a youth of Paul's birth and 
education. The only appointment he had 
was vacant owing to the resignation of a 
young fellow who found the work too 
hard and the pay too small for him. 

" It is, in fact," said Mr. Cottrell, " the 
hardest and the worst paid of my clerkships ; 



ACQUITTED. 29 



but T have no other to offer. I cannot 
recommend it to friend Paul, but if he likes 
to try it, I will promote him as soon as I 
can. It is fifty pounds per annum, and 
nothing found. I began with ten pounds 
a year. Tell Paul it is a place of trust." 

Paul did not hesitate. 

" I can live on next to nothing/' he said 
to himself; " and I can do many things to 
earn money in the hours I am not at Mr. 
Cottrell's. I shall perhaps soon be pro- 
moted, too. It is a beginning?' 

Mr. Penryn yielded, of course, to Paul's 
earnestness, and wrote at once to Mr. Cot- 
trell to say that Paul accepted the appoint- 
ment, and awaited his commands. 

Perhaps the unhappy man was not sorry 
to be, in his anguish and distress, without a 
spectator of his remorse ! 

With that glow at the heart which always 
follows a virtuous and self-sacrificing re- 
solve, Paul walked down to the beach to tell 
the Lynns he was going to town soon, and 



30 ACQUITTED. 



to beg them to let Mary know of this 
change in his prospects. 

Although it was not Saturday, he came 
up with Mary on her way to her cottage 
home. She was alone, and weeping bitterly. 



ACQUITTED. 31 



CHAPTER III. 

Those are all evil, gathering round the heart, 
One gentler feeling would not thence depart." 

Byron. 




HE one human feeling which warmed 
the heart of that bad man, Jasper 
(now Lord Derwent), was his love for 
his beautiful and only boy — a youth of sin- 
gular promise, both mental and moral, but of 
that peculiarly delicate organization which so 
often belongs to the best and most gifted in 
a family, and which always causes a feeling 
of fear and anxiety to mix itself up with 
the yearning and intense love they inspire. 

Lord Derwent saw in this boy not only 
a son of whom any parent might be proud, 
but he beheld in him the heir of the house 
of Altamount. 



32 ACQUITTED. 



His elder brother having died unmarried, 
and Jasper (Lord Derwent) himself having 
no other boy — and apparently no chance 
of one, for Lady Derwent's last little girl 
was now eight years old — young Jasper 
was looked upon as the only descendant 
in a direct line of the lordly house of 
A It a mount. 

The heir-at-law was Lord Derwent's 
enemy. 

They had been foes and rivals at Oxford ; 
and in India Miss Montresor, the belle of 
Calcutta, had jilted George Ardennes, who 
was a captain in a native regiment, to marry 
one whose prospects were brighter — namely, 
the present Lord Denvent. 

It was gall and wormwood to Lord Der- 
went to think of the possibility that the 
man who had never disguised his dislike 
and contempt for him, might yet, if not in 
his own person, in that of his descendants, 
one day lord it at Altamount Castle ! 

To this evil feeling was added a trembling 



ACQUITTED. 



anxiety, the result of the most passionate 
love for the beautiful boy, who had always 
shown a singular preference (even as a 
baby) for the parent from whom his little 
sisters turned with terror and dislike. 

Children in general are such instinctive 
judges of character, that those who can de- 
ceive adults by an assumption of amiability 
and kindness, fail to deceive them. And 
thus all Lord Derwent's little girls shrank 
from him, while his one noble boy — perhaps 
sent by Providence as a means to an end — 
was always on the watch for " papa," and 
never seemed really to enjoy any pleasure 
unless it was shared with Lord Derwent. 

Young Jasper had had many illnesses, 
and in strange contrast to his father's hard 
and selfish conduct to every one else, was 
his devoted care and his intense anxiety 
about the health of his boy. 

He would sit up with him all night. 

He would give him his medicine and his 
food himself. 

VOL. II. 3 



ACQUITTED. 



He would talk gently to him, sing to 
him, tell him stories and anecdotes, and take 
great delight in surprising him with every 
toy or treat of any kind appropriate to his 
age. 

Young Jasper, at the time of Mary's 
stay at the Castle, was with a private tutor 
at Penzance. 

His father fancied that the situation of 
Altamount Castle was somewhat bleak and 
exposed for his delicate boy. 

But when the warm, fine weather set in, 
young Jasper of his own accord wrote to 
beo* his father to let him have a week's holi- 
day, in order that he might come to the 
Castle to see his mother and his sisters, and, 
above all, " his dearest dear of all, his own 
kind papa." 

Lady Derwent, all vain, worldly, and 
selfish as she was, doated on her tall, beau- 
tiful son — the heir of the house of Altamount 
— in whom she fancied she saw her own 
beauty reproduced. 



ACQUITTED. 35 



She was very jealous of young Jasper's 
preference for his father. 

Jealousy was, in fact, the strongest pas- 
sion of her vain nature. 

Young Jasper — very tall of his age, and, 
alas ! very slender, with soft, waving auburn 
hair like floss silk; large, pellucid blue 
eyes, delicate and perfect features, a skin 
transparently fair, and with the colour of 
the centre of a sea-shell on his cheek ; with 
teeth like pearls, and very long white hands 
— had that beauty at the sight of which the 
eye of experience grows grave. 

Still he was full of life and spirit. 

He rode well and fearlessly. 

He was fond of manly sports, and it was 
not till he was tormented by an obstinate 
cough (which attacked him during his stay 
at the Castle), that his father grew nervous 
about him, and resolved to take him to 
town for a consultation of the most eminent 
physicians. 

It was just at this time, or rather a few 

3—2 



36 ACQUITTED. 



days before — in fact, when first young 
Jasper's cough struck terror to his father's 
heart — that he, in company with Dan 
Devrill, scaled the wall of what had been 
Minna's room. 

Strange that the dread of his son's be- 
coming consumptive did not keep him from 
plotting with Dan Devrill ! 

From the first, young Jasper singled out 
Mary Lynn as the object of a very decided 
preference. 

The old Earl's elder daughters, Julia and 
Augusta, and the offspring of his second 
marriage, Beatrice and Florence (his child- 
aunts, as he used to call them), and Ada, 
Edith, Inez, and Janetta, his little sisters, 
were all healthy, handsome, rosy, tole- 
rably good-humoured girls, but selfish, fond 
of dress and pleasure, and differing little 
from a hundred others of the same ages and 
rank in life. 

But to the thoughtful boy, whose preco- 
cious intellect was perhaps symptomatic of 



ACQUITTED. 37 



his malady, Mary Lynn seemed a being of 
another mould. 

In her dark eyes there was such intellect 
and such sympathy ! 

On her fine brow, noble and pure thoughts 
seemed enthroned. 

Her sweet lips, parting above the most 
beautiful teeth in the world, had a melan- 
choly smile at which he loved to gaze ; and 
her voice, both in speaking and singing, had 
a low sweet music to his ear. 

Mary's glossy black hair was plaited and 
bound round her small Grecian head in rich 
twisted bands, while all the other young 
ladies wore their flaxen or blonde tresses 
arranged according to the newest French 
fashion, and decked with coloured ri- 
bands or whatever ornaments were most in 
vogue. 

A plain white muslin dress was Mary's 
evening wear ; a black silk her morning at- 
tire. 

All the other young ladies were arrayed 



38 ACQUITTED. 



in all the brightest colours and most fanciful 
fabrics and fashions. 

To the poetical eye of young Jasper, Mary 
Lynn was the beau ideal of a youthful muse, 
while all the others seemed to form living 
illustrations of Les Modes de Paris. 

Lady Derwent, who from the first had 
hated and persecuted Mary Lynn, was furious 
when she saw that, except when Jasper was 
with his father, riding, driving, or walking 
in the grounds, all his delight was in sitting 
by Mary Lynn, whether in the schoolroom 
by day, or in the drawing-rooms at night. 

In the schoolroom he would help her 
with the lessons she gave to her little class, 
now augmented by the addition of Jasper's 
little sisters. 

In the evening he would refuse to join in 
the dance or in any romping games, on the 
plea of fatigue, and then he would ask Mary 
to play dominoes with him. 

He taught her chess and draughts, and 
she learnt both quickly. 



ACQUITTED. 39 



Lord Derwent was glad to see his beloved 
son happy and interested. 

He took Mary Lynn into his especial 
favour. 

He presented her with a set of beautiful 
coral ornaments, which proved exquisitely 
becoming to her, and which (though Lady 
Derwent had superb diamonds and a profu- 
sion of other jewels) filled her with jealousy, 
envy, and rage. 

There was a party at the Castle on the 
evening of the day on which Lord Der- 
went presented the case of beautiful coral 
ornaments to Mary Lynn. 

Two Cabinet Ministers and several other 
celebrities, together with some neighbours of 
importance, dined at the Castle. 

Lady Altamount (the second) and Lady 
Derwent were very particular about their 
own dresses and those of their daughters on 
this occasion. 

Miss Osgood, who was really attached to 
Mary Lynn, and who took great pride in 



40 ACQUITTED. 

her appearance, had purchased for her fa- 
vourite a beautiful Indian muslin with a 
Avhite silk slip, which her milliner and dress- 
maker at Bodmin had made for a young lad} r 
whose mother had died suddenly, and who, 
plunged in the deepest grief and the deepest 
mourning, had no use for the elegant white 
dress which had been ordered for a friend's 
wedding. 

Miss Carter, the Bodmin milliner, offered 
this dress (a great bargain) to Miss Osgood. 
Miss Osgood dearly loved a bargain. 

She purchased the dress and slip, and pre- 
sented them to Mary Lynn. 

They fitted her as if they had been made 
for her; and though she was wonderfully 
free from vanity, yet as she stood before the 
cheval glass in Miss Osgood's room, arrayed 
for the first time in a dress of transparent 
texture over white glace, exquisitely and 
fashionably made, her innocent and young 
delight sparkled in her eyes and flushed her 
pale cheeks. 



ACQUITTED. 41 



That evening, when to this tasteful and 
becoming dress Lord Derwent's coral orna- 
ments added so great a finish and effect, 
Mary Lynn was the great object of attrac- 
tion in the state drawing-rooms of Altamount 
Castle. 

The two Cabinet Ministers, who had been 
gay in their youth, and, sooth to say, had 
never quite ceased to be so, were professed 
connoisseurs in female beauty. They feared 
nobody, and cared for nobody ; and while 
Lady Derwent grew livid with rage, hate, 
and envy, they drew near the spot where 
Mary Lynn stood with little Janet's tiny 
hand in hers, Lord Derwent and his son 
young Jasper talking to her the while, and 
one of the two great men said — 

" Derwent, we have no patience with mo- 
nopolists — ' a thing of beauty is a joy for 
ever,' and for every one. We see no reason 
why we should be excluded from the court 
of the Queen of Beauty." 

" Yes," said the other Cabinet Minister — 



1-2 ACQUITTED. 



" ' We feel our sinking souls confess 

The might, the majesty of loveliness !' " 

Lord Derwent, much pleased because lie 
saw the boyish glee and triumph, mixed with 
a little mischief, dancing in Jasper's eyes, 
formally presented the two gallant old Eight 
Honourable Cabinet Curiosities to — Miss 
Mary Lynn ! 

And Mary, too simple and natural to be 
at all confused — in fact, not quite under- 
standing what magnets they really were — 
talked easily and gracefully with her old 
admirers : and Lady Derwent, afraid of 
making a scene, hurried up into her own 
apartments, and having locked herself in, 
kicked, screamed, and cried, and tore her 
hair and her dress in her rage and jealousy. 



ACQUITTED. 




CHAPTER IV. 

HE next day Lord Der went announced 

that Jasper (whose room adjoined 

his father's) had coughed a good 

deal in the night, and that he intended on 

the morrow to take him up to town for 

advice. 

The whole party had assembled at break- 
fast on this occasion, because it was little 
Lady Beatrice's birthday. 

Mary Lynn was therefore at table with 
her pupils. 

" Papa," said young Jasper, " Mary Lynn 
has never been to London ; she has never 
seen any town at all. How nice it would 
be if she could come too !" 



U ACQUITTED. 



11 Well, my boy," said Lord Derwent, 
"why not? I think, Countess," he added, 
turning to Lady Altamount, " yon said you 
were very anxious to have Florence's and 
Beatrice's teeth looked to by Cartwright. 
Let them come with us. Mary Lynn and 
their nurse will take care of them, and I'll 
take them to Cartwright myself." 

" I shall be very glad of the opportunity 
of sending them up to Cartwright," said the 
Countess. " When do you start ?" 

" By the Express to-morrow. So if Miss 
Osgood sees no objection, we'll relieve her of 
Beatrice and Florence to-morrow. She'll 
thank us for that, more than she will for 
taking away her favourite, Mary Lynn. 
What say you, Miss Osgood?" 

" That I shall miss Mary very much ; 
but I hope I'm not so selfish as not to 
rejoice that she should see London in such 
good company and under such pleasant 
auspices." 

" I suppose my opinion and my wishes are 



ACQUITTED. 45 



not of the slightest consequence to anyone ?" 
said Lady Denvent, pale with anger, and her 
voice low and husky with rage, spite, and 
envy. 

" Why, of course, Augusta," said Lord 
Denvent, " you must approve of and rejoice 
at anything that can make our visit to town 
agreeable to dear Jasper." 

" It will be quite a treat if Mary goes," 
said the boy. " Fancy ! she's never seen St. 
Paul's or "Westminster Abbey, or Eegent 
Street, or the Polytechnic, or the Parks ; 
she's never been inside a theatre nor outside 
one either ; never seen an exhibition, or the 
British Museum, or the Zoological Gardens, 
or the Crystal Palace, or Covent Garden 
Market, or Madame Tussaud's. Oh, how I 
long to be with her there ! Don't you, 
Mary, long to go ?" 

Mary's heart beat high at the thought ; 
her eyes sparkled, and her colour rose. 

She raised her eyes to answer young 
Jasper's question, and met the deadly 



46 ACQUITTED. 



glare of hate and revenge in the eyes of 
Lady Derwent, who had risen to leave the 
room. 

" Well, Mary, why don't yon speak ?" said 
Jasper. " Why yon look as if you'd seen a 
ghost. What is the matter ? Don't yon like 
to go to town ?" 

" Oh yes, Master Jasper," said Mary, reco- 
vering her composure, for Lad}' Derwent had 
left the room ; " it will be a very, very great 
pleasure for me to go to town, only it seems 
almost too delightful to be real." 

$ * * « * 

Mary, in the course of the afternoon, 
begged Miss Osgood to let her go down to 
her home to tell her parents of the treat in 
store for her. 

Miss Osgood granted her request. 

Mary set out with a light heart, and 
tripped gaily across the park, on her way to 
the common that led to the beach. 

She had to pass through a plantation of 
dark fir-trees, and as she hurried along sing- 



ACQUITTED. 47 



ing in the joy of her heart, she heard steps 
and the rustling of silk behind her, and a 
hoarse voice said, " Mary Lynn I" just as a 
cold thin hand was laid on her shoulder. 

Mary stopped. 

It was Lady Derwent. 

" I have a few words to say to you, girl," 
hissed Lady Derwent ; " but remember, I 
forbid you ever to mention to anyone that I 
have spoken to you on the subject I am about 
to broach. Do you promise never to mention 
to any one what I am about to say ?" 

" Yes, my lady/' said Mary, turning pale 
and dropping a curtsey. 

" Well, then, before you go to town, I beg 
you to understand that though you can de- 
ceive others, you cannot deceive me ! You 
are young in years, it is true, but you are 
old in hypocrisy, cunning, and treachery. I 
see through your game, and I will spoil it 
too. I know why you take such pains to 
please, and pretend to be so meek and amia- 
ble and modest, and cast your eyes down 



48 ACQUITTED. 



like a victim, and up like a martyr, you low- 
born, designing, beggarly girl — you scum of 
the earth ! I know why you fawn and 
cringe and flatter. You do it all to worm 
yourself into the favour of my noble son ! 
You're older than you make yourself out, and 
I dare say your head's full of novels in which 
beggar girls marry dukes ; but let me tell 
you it's only in novels those things hap- 
pen. In real life, bold girls of your class 
who try to inveigle young noblemen, get 
sent to the house ol correction, or the 
treadmill !" 

" Oh, stop, my lady !" cried Mary, burst- 
ing into tears. " I never had any such 
thoughts in my head, and no one ever called 
me bold and designing before ; but I'm not 
guilty, and I cannot bear to be so rated 
for nothing. I'd rather be treated kindly 
at home, in father's cottage, than be wronged 
and scolded and run down at the Castle ! I'll 
go home, my lady, and I'll never come back. 
Oh ! how hard it seems to be so misjudged 



ACQUITTED. -49 



and so miscalled ! Oh, my lady, you'll break 
my heart !" 

They had reached the end of the avenue, 
and came suddenly on Lord Derwent and 
young Jasper seated on a garden bench, 
hidden from them hitherto by the closely 
clipped 3'ew-trees which formed the bower 
in which they sat. 

Lady Derwent trembled and grew pale. 

She had been speaking in a very loud 
voice, for she felt sure no one was near. 

She was very much afraid of her husband, 
and she saw at a glance that he was in a 
furious passion with her. 

Young Jasper had started from his seat 
to rush to Mary's rescue when he heard his 
mother's shrill voice, and Mary Lynn's sob- 
bing, tearful reply. 

" What's the matter, Mary Lynn?" cried 
young Jasper, rushing to her side, and wiping 
her eyes with his own handkerchief. 

" Oh, Master Jasper," sobbed Mary, " I 
can't go to London ! I must go home. My 

VOL. II. 4 



50 ACQUITTED. 



lady, your own mamma, thinks me the most 
wicked wretch in the world, and has called 
me the very scum of the earth. I cannot go 
to London." 

" Then I wont go either, papa," said 
young Jasper, " and I don't care whether I 
live or die ! I love Mary Lynn as if she was 
my own sister, and better than my sisters, 
because she's so much more amiable and 
kind and noble-hearted than they are ; and 
now mamma's hurt her feelings, and made 
her resolve to go home, I don't care what 
becomes of me, for I'm very unhappy !" 

He coughed as he spoke, and his eyes 
were full of tears. 

Lord Derwent had approached his wife. 

He was deadly pale, and with a grim po- 
liteness he offered her his arm, and said, " A 
word with you, Augusta." Mary sat down 
by Jasper on a bench, and promised him 
not to forsake him in his illness. 

Lord Derwent turned into the avenue. 

He was no sooner out of si^ht of his son 



ACQUITTED. 



and Mary than lie seized Lady Derwent by 
the arm with a grip that made her wince 
and utter a low cry of pain. 

" Your diabolical temper and your hard 
cruel heart will drive that angel girl away 
from Jasper," said his lordship, again tight- 
ening his grasp of her ladyship's thin arm. 
" I shall lose my boy through your infernal 
jealousy and fiendish spite. Dr. Deering 
told me above all to keep him amused 
and happy ! Here's a girl, whose company 
is a great solace and delight to him, and 
you, like a marplot and a She Lucifer as you 
are, cannot rest till you have driven her 
away from him. And what is her crime ? 
That she's young and beautiful, and very 
good and very dear, and that even the Duke 

of C and the Marquis of W were 

so struck with her that they called her the 
Queen of Beauty, and would be introduced 
to her." 

"I don't approve of these unequal friend- 
ships, Derwent," faltered her ladyship. 

4—2 



UNIVERSITY OF i. 
LIBRARY 



ACQUITTED. 



" Don't you ? Then the sooner you do the 
better ! I've often, as you well know, resolved 
on separating from you. Your unbearable 
temper would be an ample plea. And now 
I tell you I'll see Eitherside about a separa- 
tion to-morrow, if you don't get Mary Lynn 
to promise to forgive and forget, and to go 
with us to London !" 

" Oh, I cannot humble myself to that 
low-born creature," moaned her ladyship. 

" Very well ; then prepare to live alone, 
and in no very grand style. For I swear 
by all I hold sacred, if Mary Lynn does not 
go to town with us the day after to-morrow 
the articles of separation shall be drawn 
up, signed, and acted upon ! Xow or 
never ! I'll take Jasper a turn while you 
make an ample apology to Mary Lynn. 
Come, you know how to trim your sails 
and fawn and natter to gain your ends, as 
I know to my cost !" Again he tightened 
his grasp on her arm, and then he led her 
back to the yew-tree bower. 



ACQUITTED. 53 



" Lady Derwent is very sorry she has 
hurt your feelings, Mary," he said. " She 
is come back to beg your pardon, and to 
implore you to change your mind, and to 
agree to go to town with Jasper and me 
to-morrow." 

" Oh, do, Mary, do !" cried Jasper, follow- 
ing his father, who made him a sign to 
leave his mother and Mary alone. 

Lady Derwent had at stake everything 
most dear to her on earth. Her position in 
society, wealth, style, influence, the com- 
pany of her son, all would be forfeited by a 
separation. 

How her enemies (and they were legion) 
would rejoice. 

" Mary Lynn," she said, pretending to 
weep, and hiding her face in her pocket- 
handkerchief; " Mary Lynn, forgive me ! 
I am very jealous ; and my son, who used to 
love me, now only cares for you. I unsay 
all I said in my unjust anger, Mary. It 
was all undeserved. Say you will go to 



ACQUITTED. 



town with them to-morrow. Say so, and 
all will be well." 

Poor Mary was not proof against this 
appeal. The humble entreaty of one accus- 
tomed only to command in a stern, harsh, or 
haughty manner, was irresistible to Mary's 
young and tender heart. 

She promised to go to town, and Lady 
Derwent left her to convey the good news 
to Lord Derwent and Jasper. 

Mary Lynn then hurried away to her 
cottage home. 

But as she thought over what had passed 
her tears gushed out afresh, and it was while 
she was weeping bitterly that Paul came up 
with her. 



ACQUITTED. 



55 



CHAPTEE V. 




1 Brooding o'er her fitful blushes, 
Fondly as a lover could, 
Who in them beheld the promise 
Of his life's beatitude." 

Charles Kent. 

R. PENEYN'S terrible secret was 
safe in his son's keeping. Not 
even to Mary Lynn, his chosen 
friend and confidante, did he breathe one 
word as to the real canse of the distress 
which she, with a woman's quickness, de- 
tected at a glance. 

He told her that pecuniary difficulties 
at home made him feel it imperative on him 
to give up — at least for the present — a 
remote chance of a scholarship at Oxford, for 
an appointment which would at once enable 
him to help his father. 



56 ACQUITTED. 



And though Mary wept to think that all 
Paul's hard study of Latin and Greek 
should have availed him nothing, and that 
he should be doomed to resign all his noblest 
aspirations for a life of drudgery and con- 
finement in a counting-house in Thames 
Street, she felt, nevertheless, that Paid was 
doing right ; that duty had dictated his 
resolution, and so she said — 

"I cannot but weep, Master Paul, to 
think of such a life for you, but it is 
better to be at Mr. Cottrell's doing your 
duty, and with an approving conscience 
working for the sake of your good loving- 
father, than to be living on here, hoping for 
what may never come, and adding to Mr. 
Penryn's troubles. There is one comfort in 
your fate, Master Paul, which there is not 
in mine. You can have no doubt as to 
what it is your duty to do, but I am not at 
all clear whether I ought to stay in this 
great family, to cause quarrels between Lord 
and Lady Derwent, and to fill her ladyship's 



ACQUITTED. 57 



heart with such bad feelings ; for I well 
know that though for the sake of peace, and 
because she doesn't dare disobey her lord, 
she begged my pardon, she only hates me 
the more bitterly for having been made to 
humble herself to me, and she'll treat me 
just the same as soon as she finds a safe 
opportunity." 

" Poor Mary," said Paul. " Now that I 
am going to London so soon myself, I cannot 
help feeling glad to think you will be there 
too, for on Sunday I might see you for a 
minute or two in Hyde Park or at church ; 
and to have you near will make me seem 
less lonely ; but yet I don't like your being 
so mixed up with those grand people, and I 
never did. I've that feeling for you, Mary 
Lynn, that I cannot bear to think of your 
being insulted, slighted, or put upon ; but 
then, on the other hand, it seems a pity you 
should get accustomed to live in a castle, and 
be surrounded by luxury and splendour, and 
waited on by powdered footmen, and ad- 



58 ACQUITTED. 



mired by dukes and marquises. You could 
never fancy living even as we do at Penryn 
Manor House after Altamount Castle, and 
to go back to your father's cottage would 
be dreadful to you, Mary." 

"Ob, sir," said Mary, "you misjudge 
me. I never for a moment forget, that at the 
Castle I'm only a sort of hireling that every 
one looks down upon in reality. The maids 
despise me while they envy me, and no one 
cares for me but Miss Osgood, my Lord 
Derwent, and Master Jasper." 

Paul coloured deeply and angrily as Mary 
mentioned Master Jasper. 

" Mary," he said, sternly, " I suspect 
that you care very little what any one else 
feels or thinks about you, as long as ' Master 
Jasper' is so kind to you !" 

"Oh, Mr. Paul," said Mary, "you're 
quite wrong there. Mr. Jasper loves me as 
if I were his own sister ; he has often told 
me so, and yet I'm very unhappy at the 
Castle, and I often think of trying to get 



ACQUITTED. 59 



into a situation, as teacher in a school, or 
nursery-governess in some quiet family, 
rather than cause so much disturbance at 
the Castle ; but when I think of going away, 
Master Jasper looks so ill and miserable I 
haven't the heart to do so." 

u Of course not," said Paul, bitterly; " and 
a few years hence, Mary, if Master Jasper 
should beg you to run away with him and 
marry him in secret, and look miserable and 
ill if you refused, you wouldn't have the 
heart to say no !" 

" Yes, I should, sir," replied Mary, with 
spirit, " for that I know would be very 
wrong, treacherous, and ungrateful. It 
would bring Master Jasper into great 
trouble and disgrace with his father, and I 
should have no excuse even in my own 
eyes ; for though I feel for him very much, 
and would do anything to serve him, I 
could never love him as a woman ought to 
love the man she marries. He is younger 
than I am, and somehow I cannot look up 



60 ACQUITTED. 



to him. I could not love any man who was 
not wiser and older, and more resolute 
than myself. Master Jasper is very gentle, 
kind, and loving, but I could never ask 
his advice or reverence him ! Oh," she 
cried with enthusiasm, "you do not know 
what a noble being that man must be 
whom I could love as a lover, or accept as 
a husband." 

Mary's eyes sparkled and her cheeks 
glowed as she spoke. She drew her slender 
form up to its full height, and as her eyes 
met Paul's, a softness stole over them and 
they filled with tears. 

" Mary," said Paul, and a wild hope flut- 
tered at his heart. 

Prudence was forgotten. 

Their relative positions were lost sight 
of, as he gazed on that beautiful enthusiast, 
and thought for a moment, as her eyes met 
his, that there was love in their unutterable 
softness, and that the being she could love 
and reverence was himself. 



ACQUITTED. (jl 

With the passionate impulse of nineteen 
he was about to kneel at her feet, to tell 
her he adored her, to implore her to engage 
herself to him, to promise to wait till he 
could offer her a home, he Paul Penryn of 
Penryn, and she Mary Lynn (child of Xatt 
and Polly Lynn — Xatt the fisherman) ! At 
this moment, however, Posy suddenly 
rushed down a bank with her apron full 
of wild flowers, looking like a youth- 
ful Flora, for she had made herself a 
wreath and chatelaine of the brightest of the 
blossoms. 

Posy was quite at her ease with Master 
Paul. 

She had no reverence for him, or any one 
else. 

She began pelting him with flowers, and 
challenging him to run a race with her to 
the cottage-door. 

The opportunity was gone ! 

The confession was premature, and the 
vow unspoken. 



62 ACQUITTED. 



Mary never knew how near slie had 
been to the realization of her wildest 
dream. 

She never knew that but for Eosj-'s 
sudden appearance, she and Paul would 
have parted that day affianced lovers. 



ACQUITTED. 63 



CHAPTEE VI. 

" When your soul is sad and dreary 
With the struggle and the strife 
'Gainst that army strong and dreary 
The realities of life, 

Trust in God." 

Golden Leisures, by 
William Gordon Smtthies. 

ST^S'SjR. PENBYN was not only in intense 
[IJ^gLai anxiety about the trust-money it- 
self, but the half-yearly dividend of 
fifteen pounds would soon be uue, and he 
knew not where to turn to obtain that 
sum. 

Hitherto it had been paid punctually to 
the very day, and both Ann Penryn and her 
thrifty aunt fully depended upon it. Night 
and day Mr. Penryn thought with agony 
and alarm of the fifteen pounds dividend, 
and turned over in his confused and tortured 



6-4 ACQUITTED. 



mind every hope, however forlorn, every 
chance, however remote, of saving even that 
small sum. He had long been engaged on 
a very erudite work, on the genius of So- 
phocles, and on a translation of his tragedies. 
Up to the time of Downy 's fatal visit, and 
his own breach of trust, this work had been 
a labour of love. It had shared his leisure, 
furnishing pleasant occupation for the pre- 
sent (after his own heart), and enabling him 
to build up in the future a temple of fame. 
Often had he figured to himself the debut 
of a new classical chef d'ce/ivre, to be called 
" Penryn's Sophocles." 

In fancy, he had seen the work published 
by a great Oxford bookseller, and at once 
received as an authority; praised in the 
Quarterlies and in The Times, and the de- 
lightful echoes of the noise it was sure to 
make in the Universities, reaching the de- 
lighted ears of the timid author, in the quiet 
retreat of Penryn Manor House. Now the 
wretched man began to think of his great 



ACQUITTED. 65 



work, not with reference to the delight he 
had hitherto felt in its composition, and the 
fame it was to insure, but as a source of 
money ? If he could but complete it, might 
he not be able to replace Ann Penryn 's 
trust fund ? 

Alas ! alas ! Penryn of Penryn ill, de- 
pressed, and in terror, writing for money, 
made little way in that work which under 
higher and better auspices had often made 
him seem to himself, inspired ! 

"Pegasus im Joc/ie" cannot do a day's work 
with the clumsiest cart-horse. Vainly poor 
Penryn tried to write. 

His head ached, his heart failed him. The 
Muses seldom love him whom Hope and 
Honour have forsaken, and who has offended 
and estranged the Virtues. 

Often and often, in the solitude of his own 
study, the vain effort to write a chapter of 
his work, ended in tears and groans. 

Paul, in whom great quickness and intel- 
ligence supplied the place of experience, saw, 

voi . ii. 5 



66 ACQUITTED. 



without appearing to see it, his father's 
struggle and defeat. 

He guessed at what was pressing so heavily 
and so immediately on that beloved father's 
mind. 

Paul knew (for till now there had been 
no secrets, no mysteries at the Manor 
House), that Ann's midsummer dividend 
must soon be due. 

He understood that, as the trust-money 
was gone, his father had nothing to receive. 
He realized his father's position with that 
ready sympathy which belongs only to the 
noblest natures, and having a head for ex- 
pedients and a heart whose tenderness gave 
birth to tact, he resolved to suggest to that 
father such ways and means as had occurred 
to his mind, without allowing him to per- 
ceive that he knew of any pecuniary troubles 
beyond those caused by the expenses of his 
father's long illness. 

" Father," said Paul, the day before he 
was to start for London, "I am going to work 



ACQUITTED. 67 



very hard, in order to send you money to 
pay all the debts that torment you and 
prevent your recovering your health and 
spirits, but it is impossible I can meet 
the most pressing in time, and therefore 
I think the best thing you could do, 
dear father, would be to raise whatever 
sum you require on the few valuables 
we possess ; my dear mother's jewels, 
poor Auntie's gold watch and chain, and 
the contents of the plate chest, would 
secure a sum which would enable you 
to quiet these people and relieve your own 
mind." 

"But Paul, I cannot bear to sell such 
sacred, such beloved relics as your angel 
mother's few little ornaments and my dear 
Aunt's old gold watch and chain." 

Paul took a county paper from his pocket, 
and pointed out an advertisement in which 
a Mr. Walker, of Bodmin, stated that he 
lent the largest possible sums on plate and 
jewellery. 



68 ACQUITTED. 



He lived in Street, Bodmin, and 

pledged himself to secrecy. 

" I do not advocate your selling any of 
these dear relics, father," said Paul, " but if 
you can take them to Bodmin and raise the 
sum you need upon them, I will do my 
best to redeem them." 

"It is an excellent suggestion, my dear 
boy !" said Mr. Penryn, with a sigh of in- 
tense relief; "but old Patience, what will 
she think — what will she say ?" 

Mr. Penryn was just the sort of man to 
live in dread of a long-tongued maid- 
servant. 

"No matter what she thinks, father," 
said Paul; "she must not be allowed to 
say anything, nor indeed to Jcnoic anything, 
but even if she did, there is nothing she can 
do to prevent }^our raising money on what 
is so entirely your own?" 

" She will be very cross and short and 
sulky if she finds it out, Paul," moaned 
Mr. Penryn. 



ACQUITTED. 09 



"Then don't let her find it ont, father; 
perhaps it will not be necessary to take 
those articles which she has in her own 
closet and under her own care." 

" It is all out of devotion to us and our 
interests that she keeps such a close watch 
over every thing and every penny entrusted 
to her, but just now her devotion is rather 
inconvenient, I own." 

Poor Penryn said this with a smile — the 
first real smile Paul had seen on that dear 
pale face since the visit to town with Sligo 
Downy. 

An immediate peril and disgrace had 
been removed by Paul's suggestion. At 
least, Mr. Penryn felt certain they would 
be. 

Ann's fifteen pounds would be duly paid. 

He could settle with the most trouble- 
some of his creditors, — perhaps keep by 
him enough for Ann's Christmas dividend. 

It was almost in a joyous tone that he 
said — 



70 ACQUITTED. 



" What do you think, Paul, of putting 
off your journey for one day, and coming 
with me to Bodmin ? We'll get our busi- 
ness with friend Walker well over, and 
then I'll give you a chop and a bottle of 
old port at the Eose and Crown — one of 
those comfortable old-fashioned hostelries 
once so general and now so rare, where one 
feels quite at home, without any of the 
drawbacks and bother of an inn. Your 
mother and I slept there on our wedding 
tour, and I can show you her dear cipher, 
intertwined with mine, on a pane of glass of 
our bedroom window, cut with the dia- 
mond of her keeper ring. Heaven bless 
her angel-spirit," he added fervently. 
" Bless her for the help, the comfort, the 
treasure she was to me while she lived; 
and bless her for giving me the best of 
good and loving and dutiful sons in you, 
Paul! So write, my dear boy, to tell 
Mr. Cottrell you cannot start till the day 
after to-morrow. I feel so much better to- 



ACQUITTED. 71 



da)', Paul, and this little trip will be quite 
a fete to me ; besides, I want your help and 
judgment, my boy. You are strong and 
keen withal, and resolute, and I never 
pledged anything in my life, not even my 
watch when I was at Westminster School, 
though many of the boys pledged theirs 
whenever they wanted money." 

Paul did not like the idea of the expense 
of this trip, the dinner at the inn, the bottle 
of port, the hire of a pony chaise, — for they 
kept no conveyance of any kind now ; but 
he had not the heart to refuse his father, 
and to damp his spirits, fast reviving after 
being so long depressed. 

He thought, too, that he could make a 
much better bargain with Mr. Walker than 
his father could, and it would be their last 
day together for a long, long time. 

He agreed then to Mr. Penryn's proposal, 
and wrote to Mr. Cottrell to tell him on 
what day he should start. 

Mr. Cottrell had written kindly to Paul, 



ACQUITTED. 



and had sent him a five-pound note for his 
journey, mentioning at the same time, that 
when he and Paul's father had travelled to- 
gether from Pencombe to London by 
waggon fifty years since, their journey had 
cost them only eight shillings each. 

But at that time young Cornish gentle- 
men did not despise the waggon which took 
a fortnight to get to London ; and young 
Cottrell going up to a countinghouse, where 
he was to have ten pounds a year, and 
young Penryn going to Westminster 
School, became very companionable during 
the journey, and they took their meals to- 
gether, Cottrell being furnished with bacon, 
beef, and a small cask of beer ; and young 
Penryn with wine and a ham, a rich plum 
cake, and a good many dainties. 

From that journey dated their intimacy ; 
and now the poor boy was a millionaire, 
and the gentleman's son was suffering all 
the agonies that attend on debt and genteel 
poverty, to say nothing of that terrible 



ACQUITTED. 73 



thousand pounds, so tremendous and un- 
attainable a sum to Mr. Penryn, but which 
Colin Cottrell could double or treble in a 
few hours in the mighty crucible of trade. 
* * * * 

Mr. Penryn was very nervous about col- 
lecting and packing up the things to be 
taken to Bodmin, for on this particular day 
old Patience seemed to be gifted with 
ubiquity. 

Whether she suspected anything or not 
Paul and his father could not tell, but 
wherever they went she invented some ex- 
cuse for following them — the stealthy step, 
the keen old eyes, and the shrill treble voice 
w ere e very where . 

Mr. Penryn was in a nervous fever. 

Patience had lived so long in the family 
that she really did feel a sort of sense of 
ownership in everything at the Manor 
House. 

As to those articles which were in her 
own closet, and under her especial care, she 



74 ACQUITTED. 



felt that possession was indeed nine points 
of the law, and it wonld have been very 
difficult to wrench them from her without a 
full explanation of the terrible necessity for 
raising money on them. 

Finding it quite impossible to get at 
many of the required articles without the 
old woman's knowledge, Paul, who had the 
highest opinion of her judgment and her 
heart, advised his father to take her into 
their confidence. 

Mr. Penryn of course agreed. When 
had he ever been known to disagree with 
any one's opinion, or to say " No," even to 
an enemy. 

Paul, at his father's request, took Pa- 
tience aside and told her what they were 
about to do, in order to meet the most 
{Dressing of the debts incurred during Mr. 
Penryn's illness, and some of much longer 
standing. 

Poor old Patience grew very pale as she 
listened. 



ACQUITTED. 75 



She shook her head and clasped her 
hands, and said — 

"Oh, Mr. Paul, I fear there's more in 
this than you and I know. It must be 
something very terrible indeed to make 
master part with anything that my dear 
missus ever wore ! Oh ! if she had but 
been spared ! However, I says nothing — 
I keeps my thoughts to myself. ' A still 
tongue makes a wise head/ and if it must 
be, it must be. But this Walker — I lived 
in Bodmin once, and I knows him ; he's no- 
thing but a common pawnbroker for all his 
fine advertisement, and he've got three gilt 
balls, for all the world like heads a nodding 
and a shaking away at the poor deluded 
creatures who goes in there to pledge their 
property. I've heard say them three gilt 
balls means that it's two to one nothing 
put in there ever comes out again. But 
wait a minute, Mr. Paul, I'll bring you 
what I've got of the plate, all but what's 
in daily use. I couldn't see that go, and 



76 ACQUITTED. 



Robin, who helps a bit now, and cleans the 
plate, would be sure to miss it and ask for 
it, and I should sink into the earth for 
shame ! Oh that I should have lived to 
see this day !" 

She wiped her eyes and hobbled slowly 
away, but returned more briskly and 
quickly, looking flushed and triumphant. 
She had a box under her arm and a yellow 
canvas bag in her hand. 

" Mr. Paul," she said, " here's all the 
plate not in daily use, and here is a tidy 
bit of money I've saved up in master's ser- 
vice, and he's right welcome to the use of it 
if it will be a little help in this trouble. 
There's twenty-two pounds, eight shillings 
and twopence three farthings. I've nor 
kith nor kin in the wide world, and no 
friend on earth but vou and the master. I 
always meant to make a bit of a will and 
leave it to you, Master Paul, but if master's 
troubled for it he can have the use of it till 
better times, and he'll be able to pay it 



ACQUITTED. 



back, maybe, before I am called away to a 
better spear." 

Paul was much affected by this ^ene- 
rosity in one so very, very thrifty as old 
Patience. 

Mr. Penryri would not accept the prof- 
fered loan. 

He felt certain he could raise enough at 
Bodmin on the articles he had selected, to 
pay the most pressing of the debts and Ann 
Penryn's midsummer dividend. 

He. however, thought with a sort of com- 
fort that if matters did not mend by Christ- 
mas, Patience could lend him enough to 
make up Ann's Christmas dividend, and Mr. 
Penryn was not in the habit of looking for- 
ward so far as from Midsummer to Christ- 
mas. 



78 ACQUITTED. 




CHAPTER VII. 

"Iam loved, I am loved, 
Jubilate." 

Lord Lytton. 

HE next day Mr. Penryn set out with 

Paul in a pony chaise hired from 

the Chequers. The weather was 

exquisite, and Mr. Penryn seemed greatly 

to enjoy the drive. 

Mr. Walker's dep6t turned out to be a 
large, old, long- established pawnbroker's. 

Father and son felt their cheeks burn and 
their hearts sink, when, for the first time in 
their lives, after lingering a good while out- 
side, they slipped like conscious culprits into 
the dark shop, hoping the passers-by would 
suppose them to be purchasers, not pledgers, 
of plate and jewellery. 



ACQUITTED. 



Mr. Penryn was so abashed and confused 
lie could do nothing, for he could scarcely 
speak. 

Paul seeing this, and perceiving that Mr. 
Walker and his assistants looked both in- 
solent and cunning, summoned all his reso- 
lution and courage, and completely cowed 
them all by the cool, dignified manner in 
which he managed this very unpleasant 
business. 

Paul Penryn, by this judicious self-posses- 
sion, got all he could on the articles he pro- 
duced—just three times what was offered at 
first; and though Mr. Walker disparaged 
them all, in a very irritating, supercilious 
manner, he lent thirty-two pounds on the 
whole lot. 

With this money in his pocket Mr. 
Penryn felt almost happy. They then 
repaired to the Rose and Crown, and ere long 
father and son dined cheerfully together on 
excellent fare, and Mr. Penryn was not dis- 
appointed in the crusted port which the land- 



80 ACQUITTED. 



lord (when he knew who he was, and recog- 
nised him as an old customer), brought up 
to him. Mr. Penryn, who clearly loved the 
fashions of the olden time, invited the land- 
lord (a man about his own age) to finish the 
bottle with him, for Paul would not exceed 
two glasses. 

The landlord was a merry, talkative old 
toper, with a bottle nose, a triple chin, a 
magenta complexion, and a shape like a tun. 
He remembered Mr. Penryn bringing his 
bride to the Eose and Crown, for he w r as 
newly married himself, and he recollected 
his Sue's teasing hitn into buying her a 
bonnet like Mrs. Penryn's. He told Mr. 
Penryn all the news of the town and neigh- 
bourhood. 

Paul hunted about till he found the cipher 
which was still to be seen on a pane of glass 
in the window of an adjoining bedroom, and 
both father and son gazed at it through 
their tears, for those initials recalled to 
the one the most fond and faithful of wives, 



ACQUITTED. 81 



to the other the best and tenderest of 
mothers. 

When Paul saw how much the visit to 
Bodmin, and its pecuniary results, had 
cheered and comforted his poor father, he 
felt consoled for the inevitable expense it 
had entailed, and which at any other time, 
and under any other circumstances, he would 
have tried to avert. 

The hire of the pony-chaise, and the dinner 
at the inn (although both were supplied at 
a very moderate rate), amounted to a great 
deal more than Mr. Penryn could afford — 
but Paul comforted himself by reflecting 
that had he not accompanied his father, the 
business with Mr. Walker would have been 
a complete failure ; or, at the very best, 
Mr. Penryn would not have obtained more 
than a third of the sum he required, and 
thus his object in pledging the plate and 
jewellery would have been completely de- 
feated. 

Then, too, to this dutiful and affectionate 

VOL. II. G 



82 ACQUITTED. 



son it was a great blessing to think that the 
last clay he had spent with his father, before 
leaving him for an indefinite time, had been 
one of comparative happiness, and that the 
immediate peril and pressure which were 
crushing the life out of his heart and spirit, 
were removed, at least for a little while. 

As Paul and his father drove home, they 
met Miss Osgood and Mary Lynn in the 
village of Pencombe. 

They had walked to "The Shop" 
to make some purchases essential to their 
packing, and as Mary, who was not very 
well, looked pale and tired, Miss Osgood 
gladly accepted Paul's offer of setting them 
down at the Castle. 

Paul, who was driving, helped Mary to 
the seat beside him, and Miss Osgood seated 
herself by Mr. Penryn. 

There were two ways of going back 
to Penryn Manor House by Altamount 
Castle. 

Who can wonder that Paul, with beau- 



ACQUITTED. 83 



tiful and beloved Mary Lynn by his side, 
took the longest wav. 

Nor did Miss Osgood, who had at once 
engaged Mr. Penryn in an argument on 
"the duality of the mind" (an old subject 
of discussion between them), complain of the 
extra half hour which enabled her to bring 
all her forces into the field, and during which 
Paul, too enraptured for words, felt what an 
elysium (in the first and emotional stage of 
love) is the mere presence of the beloved 
one. 

Paul, however, did ascertain that Mary 
Lynn would be in London on the evening 
of the third day after his arrival there. 

Although the noble family at the Castle 
were acquainted with the Penryns of the 
Manor House, there was no intimacy which 
would have excused Paul's calling in Gros- 
venor Square, uninvited by the Earl or 
Lord Derwent, and therefore he begged 
Mary to write him a few lines addressed to 
the warehouse of "Cottrell & Co.," just to 

G— 2 



84 M 'QUITTED. 



tell him she had arrived safely, and to let 
him know how she had home her long 
journey. 

He begged her also to say whether she 
should be in Hyde Park on Sunday, and 
what church the family attended. 

Oh, what a delicious drive was that ! 

Never, to either of those young beings 
had the air seemed so ambrosial, the moon 
so calmly, spiritually bright, the purple 
sky so translucent, the moonlit sea so 
smooth and silvery! 

A sense of rapturous and intense happi- 
ness spoke from their eloquent eyes, and 
" made its best interpreter a sigh!" 

They had to pass through a dark planta- 
tion of fir trees before they reached the 
Castle, and coming from the open country, 
the bright mooonlight, and the vast expanse 
of silvery sea, it seemed so dark in the plan- 
tation, that at every little noise Mary drew 
nearer to Paul ; and once, when a stag 
bounded across the road, she clung to his 
arm. 



ACQUITTED. 85 



Paul pressed her dear little trembling 
hand to his side, and would not release it 
till the wood was passed, and the moonlight 
again illumined every object. 

Mary had in her bosom a sprig of myrtle 
and a spray of scarlet geranium, and Paul 
begged for those treasures so earnestly, that 
Mary gave them to him. 

" They will outlive me, Mary," he whis- 
pered, " if care and love can keep them alive ! 
They will be my dearest friends and sweetest 
comforters in the dark, crowded city, which 
will be such a solitude to me." 

Alas ! all that's bright must fade. 

They are at the Castle gates ! 

A few minutes more and they have driven 
up to the entrance. 

The last farewell is spoken. 

Paul still feels the gentle pressure of 
Mary's hand. Her myrtle and geranium, 
warm from her bosom, are hidden deep 
in his ! 

She has promised to write to him! 



86 ACQUITTED. 



Only a few lines ; but what rapture to 
him to receive a few lines from her, in clingy 
Thames Street ! 

Ah ! come what will, Paul and Mary 
must ever look back to that moonlit drive 
from Pencombe to Altamount Castle as to a 
bright oasis in life's desert, " the greenest 
of green spots in memory's waste." And 
yet no word of love has passed their lips. 

What then? there is a language more 
eloquent than that of words. 

Mary felt that Paul loved her, and Paul 
went forth into the great battle-field, strong 
in the conviction that the fate of one far 
dearer to him than himself depended upon 
him, his courage, industry, and virtue. 



ACQUITTED. 87 




CHAPTER VIII. 

What, and how great, the virtue and the art 
To live on little with a cheerful heart !" 

Pope. 

E. COTTEELL had sent Paul a 

five-pound note for his travelling 

expenses ; but Paul had resolved 

not to spend more than one pound in 

getting from Pencombe to Thames Street. 

Fortunately for him there was an excur- 
sion train going from Penzance to London, 
the third-class fare being only eight 
shillings. 

A carrier, who plied between Pencombe 
and Penzance, took Paul in his covered cart 
with his luggage to the station, and old 
Patience had taken care that he should be 
well-provisioned, not merely for the journey, 



88 ACQUITTED. 



but she had filled a large hamper with such 
things as would keep, and save her dear 
young master some expense in house- 
keeping. 

Poor Mr. Penryn felt much depressed 
when, for the first time in his life, his son 
left his home. 

Paul had never been to school, and thus 
his father had never been accustomed to see 
him depart, never been used to sit down to 
table without him — to the absence of that 
fine healthy young face, and that lithe 
manly form — that joyous presence, that 
pleasant voice, that cheerful converse — 
those dutiful, affectionate attentions of a 
good and loving son. The high spirits of 
the night before had been succeeded by a 
fit of increased depression ; and when Paul 
knelt down and begged his father's blessing, 
poor Mr. Penryn gave way completely, and 
burst into tears ! 

Still the young man must go forth into 
the world, by the sweat of brow or brain to 



ACQUITTED. 89 



earn a living for the present, and prepare a 
career for the future, and the old man must 
stav behind, alone and desolate, to watch 
and to pray. 

All the romance and adventure of a long 
journey has been destroyed by the Eailway. 
From Penzance to Paddington, Paul saw 
nothing of the interesting and antique cities, 
towns, and villages of the south-west of 
England. 

The stations are much the same every- 
where ; so are the officials ; and the third- 
class passengers with whom his poverty, or 
rather his economy, made him acquainted, 
were principally Cornish men and women of 
the working classes, availing themselves of 
the opportunity offered by this cheap excur- 
sion train to go to London, to see relatives 
settled there. 

There was one very tidy, picturesque old 
woman, in the black coal-scuttle bonnet and 
scarlet cloak which had once been the 
national costume of our female peasantry, 



90 ACQUITTED. 



and she was returning to London after a 
visit of a fortnight to her friends near 
Penzance. 

She was a kind, motherly creature, very 
clean in her dress and person, and very re- 
spectful in her manners. She perceived at 
a glance that Paul Penryn, though travelling 
third-class, was a gentleman born and bred ; 
and liking his frank, handsome face and 
gentle manners, she humbly offered him a 
piece of home-made plum cake, and a glass 
of currant wine out of her basket. 

Paul accepted and praised the cake and 
wine, and they entered into conversa- 
tion. 

She had with her a pretty, modest girl, 
her granddaughter, Kate Collins, whom she 
was taking to London to get her, if possible, 
into good service. 

Paul remembered to have heard Mary 
Lynn and Miss Osgood say that the school- 
room maid at the Castle was going to be 
married, and that they had great difficulty 



ACQUITTED. 91 



in finding a suitable person to supply her 
place. Paul thought it very likely that 
Kate Collins might suit ; and as the little 
girls would be in town for some weeks with 
Lord Derwent and Jasper, he determined to 
recommend Kate Collins to Mary ; for the 
Sunday-school prizes she blushingly pro- 
duced out of her travelling basket, and the 
letters from the clergyman of her parish and 
his wife, which she showed him, convinced 
him that she was a very good, clever, handy 
girl. ( 

Old Mrs. Collins, who knew the old 
county names, thought a great deal of a 
Penryn of Penryn, though he was tra- 
velling third-class ; and the idea of Kate's 
getting into Lord Altamount's family 
flushed her old cheek with honest pride. 

In the course of their conversation, it 
came out that old Mrs. Collins lived in a 
very old house in Thames Street — that she 
went out as a charwoman, and had two tidy 
rooms neatly furnished at the top of the 



92 ACQUITTED. 



house. For these two rooms she paid one 
pound a month. 

" Now that my good man's gone to a 
better place," she said, " I don't want two 
rooms, sir, and I should be glad to let the 
best of them for three shillings a week. 
I don't like to sell off the furniture, which 
I've had ever since I married, and which 
was my great-grandmother's ; and if I 
could let the front room furnished, I could 
make a little by it. It's a very clean, re- 
spectable house, and the upper part projects 
in the old style, and you can see the river 
and the steamers, and feel quite fresh and 
airy down in the darkest part of the city." 

Paul, who had been calculating in his 
own mind, what would be the inevitable ex- 
pense of a lodging, and had anticipated 
much difficulty in getting any clean and 
decent room near Mr. Cottrell's for a mo- 
derate rent, proposed to old Mrs. Collins to 
take her spare room furnished at the rent she 
had named, and to add a shilling per week 



ACQUITTED. 93 



to the pay, on condition that she would do 
what little he required in the way of 
service. 

When he told her that he was going into 
Mr. Cottrell's counting-house, she said that 
she was sure Mr. Cottrell would give her 
his good word, as for more than twenty 
years she had been in the habit of cleaning 
out the counting-house, warehouse, and 
dwelling-house, once a week. Old Mrs. 
Collins's husband had been a working 
jeweller, and in his time they had been better 
off; but now she had nothing but her own 
hands to keep her and a delicate, bookish 
lad, her grandson, who lived with her. 

The rent, and the shilling a week from 
Paul, would therefore be a very great help. 

She agreed, as the room was ready, to 
receive him at once ; and Paul felt as if it 
would seem something like home to be with 
the motherly, respectful old Cornish dame, 
who thought so much of the Penryns of 
Penryn, and whose granddaughter (if en- 



94 ACQUITTED. 



gaged by Lord Derwent) would be a sort of 
link and medium of communication between 
Mary Lynn and himself. 

* * * * * 

It was midnight when the train arrived 
at the Paddington Station. 

Paul, who felt very tired and very sleepy, 
was much tempted to take a cab, and thus 
get himself, Mrs. Collins, and her grand- 
daughter conveyed comfortably and promptly 
to Thames Street ; but on inquiry he found 
he should have to pay seven shillings, and 
he did not feel justified in incurring such 
an expense, particularly as after sitting 
all day he was quite equal to a much longer 
walk. 

Mrs. Collins (in spite of her great age) 
was a good walker, and with an unselfish- 
ness for which Paul honoured her, she 
strongly advised him not to waste his money 
on a cab. 

He took his travelling bag in his hand, 
and arranged with the officials to send his 



ACQUITTED. 95 



trunk on the next clay by the Parcels De- 
livery Company. 

Mrs. Collins, who knew the way well, 
undertook to take Paul the shortest road to 
her own door, and Paul, kindly offering one 
strong young arm to the grandmother and 
the other to the granddaughter, they set off 
cheerfully together. 

It was a bright moonlight night, and it 
was intensely interesting to Paul to see in 
the soft, silvery, and spiritual light of the 
sun of the sleepless, the churches and great 
thoroughfares of which he had read and 
heard so much. 

How solemn, still, and silent everything 
appeared ! — what masses of ebon shadows, 
what floods of silvery light ! 

Very few people w^ere out. Here and there 
a drunkard reeled home, or a policeman went 
his rounds ; or a gentleman in a crush hat 
and white kid gloves walked home from a 
ball or party, or a carriage or cab dashed 
past ; but this was all. 



96 ACQUITTED. 



The shops were shut, even the gin pa- 
laces were closed, and bustling, noisy , garish 
London was like a city of the dead. 

Paul gazed with deep interest at Temple 
Bar, which he recognised at once from en- 
gravings he had seen of that important 
gate of the city, and his heart heat high as 
he approached St. Paul's, and the ball and 
the cross bright in the moonlight, and the 
errand building which seemed to be built of 
ebony and ivory, so dark was it in the shade 
so bright in the light. 

The clock struck two as Paul, entranced, 
stood oozing: at the massive edifice. The 
deep sonorous tones of the chimes, and the 
inspiring anthem those iron tongues seem 
to chant, were very soothing to his heart. 

Paul could have stood for an hour or more 
gazing entranced on St. Paul's by moon- 
light, but Mrs. Collins was very tired, and 
disturbed his reverie by longing for " a 
good cup o' tea and her own bed." 

So on they went again, and did not stop 



ACQUITTED. 



till they stood before a quaint, very old 
house in Thames Street. 

Paul, who loved the picturesque, was 
pleased with the sight of the old-fashioned 
gables, the stacks of chimneys, and the upper 
part of the house projecting beyond the 
lower. 

Mrs. Collins, who had a key, opened the 
street-door, and taking a pair of snuffers and 
a candle-end from her basket, she soon 
lighted Paul up the old-fashioned oaken 
staircase, and into the room which was to be 
his own in future. 

Everything was very clean. The furni- 
ture, though extremely old-fashioned, was 
good and picturesque, and from the large 
windows Paul could see the Thames, and as 
it was high water and a light breeze was 
playing on the silver ripples, he thought 
with a sigh, of the sea he loved so well, and 
which was so sweetly associated in his mind 
with Mary, his beautiful beloved, and with 
his dear kind father. 

VOL. II. 7 



98 ACQUITTED. 



Mrs. Collins and lier granddaughter soon 
kindled a fire, boiled some water, prepared 
tea, and fried some eggs and ham. And 
this repast over and cleared away, Paul's 
bed was got ready. 

Very clean and very comfortable, though 
very quaint and old-fashioned, like every- 
thing else in this house, was Paul's old Cor- 
nish bed, which had belonged to Mrs. Col- 
lins's great-grandmother. 

It was a very great, and certainly not a 
very pleasant change from Penryn Manor 
House to a lodging in Thames Street, but 
Paul felt very thankful that it was no worse, 
and he had no sooner laid his head on a 
pillow smelling of lavender and rose leaves, 
than he fell into a sound and dreamless 
sleep. 



ACQUITTED. 99 




CHAPTER IX. 

And 't will be sweet, when Summer-tide is past, 
And gentle breeze gives way to chilling blast ; 
"When verdant fields, where fragrant flowers blow, 
Are mantled o'er by drear December's snow, 
In the great city's dull and murky scene, 
Fondly to dwell on days that once have been." 

Golden Leisures. 

ATJL was so tired with his journey 

and the long walk that had followed 

it, that he slept soundly till nine 

o'clock in the morning, although in the 

country he habitually rose at six. 

It was strange that he could sleep on thus, 
he, accustomed to the entire stillness and 
hush of morning in the country, for the 
busy world of trade and labour were up be- 
times in Thames Street. 

Heavy waggons rumbled along, and met, 
and got entangled in the narrow street, and 

7-2 



100 ACQUITTED. 



the drivers shouted, swore at, and abused 
each other in the foulest language. 

Male hawkers with hoarse voices, and 
female costermongers, shrill as peacocks, 
rent the air with their cries. 

A hurdy-gurdy and a barrel-organ both 
striking up at once produced a hideous dis- 
cord. 

Added to all these noises, was the inces- 
sant roar of the human tide now invading* 
Cheapside, and which was to the ear like 
distant thunder. 

All these sounds together mixed them- 
selves up with Paul's morning dreams, and 
to his sleeping fancy seemed like a tremen- 
dous storm at Pencombe. 

He thought he heard the thunder roar, 
the wind howl, the sea rage, the old ances- 
tral trees (the glory of Penryn Manor 
House) creak and groan, and the sea-birds 
wildly screech and scream. 

Yes, Paul dreamt that he stood bare- 
headed at the entrance of Penryn Manor 



ICQUITTED. 101 



House with Mary Lynn by his side, vainly 
ringing and shouting for admittance, when 
such a flash of lightning, fierce and forked, 
seemed to strike Mary's fair brow, and so 
terrified her that she fell fainting on his 
breast, and in the agony of his alarm lest 
the electric fluid should have killed her, he 
woke. 

What in his dream had seemed the light- 
ning's flash, then proved to be a bright stream 
of sunshine, which Mrs. Collins, in peeping 
in at Paul's door, had let into his room. 

The good old creature began to be uneasy 
at Paul's deep and protracted sleep. 

She had been up since six o'clock herself. 

Everything was ready for Paul's breakfast 
in a little sitting-room downstairs (belong- 
ing to a lodger who was gone into the country 
for a month). 

Paul was shocked when he heard that it 
was half-past nine. 

He promised to be dressed and down as 
soon as possible. 



102 ACQUITTED. 



When Mrs. Collins was gone lie hurried to 
the window and looked down on the street, 
blocked up with drays and waggons, on the 
dingy houses, the leaden coloured sky, the 
sulky-looking river. 

He heard the loud angry voices of con- 
tending waggoners. 

The air seemed tainted with smoke, and 
his heart pined for the fresh flower garden, 
the ambrosial air, the noble trees, the open 
sea, the cawing rooks, the exquisite fra- 
grance and fresh tranquil beauty of morning 
at Penryn Manor House. 

He missed the two old peacocks, Sultan 
and Mogul, who always sat on the stone 
balustrade, looking so gorgeous in the morn- 
ing sun, and who, when Paul opened his 
window, spread their superb tails in his 
honour, and strutted and screamed by way 
of good-morrow. 

" Oh, why did I leave that lovely spot, 
that dear, dear home ?" he said to himself as 
he turned with a shudder of disgust from 



ACQUITTED. 103 



the distasteful view without. " Why ?" 
and Conscience answered, " Because duty 
called you away ; because it is not by lead- 
ing the life of a languid recluse that you 
can save your father from shame and ruin, or 
carve out for yourself a future which you 
may one day ask Mary to share and to 
bless." 

Terror and remorse were already gliding 
among the sweetest flowers in the grand old 
parterres at Penryn Manor House, and you 
will be happier here working very hard, 
living very sparely, practising a rigid sys- 
tem of self-denial, and earning and saving 
every penny yon can, than mooning in selfish 
inaction at Penryn, while disgrace is steal- 
ing, followed by ruin and perhaps death, on 
your weak but beloved father, and on the 
ancient name you bear. 

As soon as Paul had breakfasted he went 
out to announce his arrival to Mr. Cottrell. 

Although Paul Penryn had always lived 
in the countiy, and had never been in London 



104 ACQUITTED. 



before, there was nothing quizzical, quaint, 
or rustic in his dress or appearance. 

Penzance is so fashionable a watering- 
place, that first-rate tailors, hatters, and boot- 
makers from the metropolis had found it 
worth their while to settle there, and Mr. 
Penryn had always employed the best of 
these tradesmen for his son and himself. 

Then Paul had a fine intellectual face, a 
tall, graceful, manly form, and a very gentle- 
manly — indeed aristocratic — air. He was 
very neat in his person, and had that digni- 
fied self-possession of manner which a brave, 
resolute spirit generally gives. 

He had to pass through a counting-house, 
in which were a number of clerks, on his 
way to Mr. Cottrell's own little private 
office ; and though these clerks were for the 
most part much given to what they called 
" chaff," and quite prepared to quiz and 
"roast" the "rustic," or as they also de- 
signated him, " the young man from the 
country," they could not find anything in 



ACQUITTED. 101 



Paul's dress or manner to furnish them with 
a joke or a laugh at his expense. 

" He's a deuced handsome fellow, is Rus- 
ticus," said Mr. Fisk, a young clerk, who 
was something of a leader among them, and 
who piqued himself on a rather cc horse} r " 
get-up, and on being in an indirect, second- 
hand way, a sporting man, though in a 
small way. 

" Yes," said Brymer, who fancied himself 
a swell, " if the tailor who made his coat 
and continuations, lives at the Land's End, 
he'd, better not, for ' e's wasting 'is sweet- 
ness on the desert hair !' ' 

' The young man from the country' 
doesn't think small beer of himself, I 
fancy," said an older clerk with a bald head 
and spectacles ; " and I imagine, gentlemen, 
if you try it on with him as you did with 
Mr. Wilson, you'll find you've caught a 
Tartar. He'll stand no nonsense, I can see; 
and his arm would make three of yours, 
Fisk, or }^ours either, Brymer. So I advise 



106 ACQUITTED. 



you to give up all those pleasant little prac- 
tical jokes you were planning. A Cornish 
hug or a Cornish throw would not suit your 
book at all, Fisk ; for though you are on the 
turf, my boy, you might fall on the stones." 

" Capital, by Jove ! Fisk," said Brymer, 
"Beagle 'ad you there, Fisk." 

"I'm sure," said Fisk, "you've more rea- 
son to fear a Cornish throw and hug than I 
have, Brymer, for you wear stays and are 
padded like an old coquette, or a first-class 
railway carriage. You'd be doubled up in 
no time. So I advise you to mind your jo's 
and ^'s, or it's all over with you, and no 
mistake." 

Meanwhile Paul had made a favourable 
impression on his future employer, Colin 
Cottrell, the millionaire, the " self-made 
man," who had come to London forty-five 
years before, from a village near Pencombe, 
in the same waggon with Paul's uncle, then 
young Penryn, on his way to Westminster 
School — Colin Cottrell being at that time 



ACQUITTED. 10; 



engaged at ten pounds a year in the very 
warehouse of which he was now the grand 
master and sole proprietor. 

Perhaps it was some recollection of those 
early days, of that pleasant fortnight in the 
Penzance waggon, of the fond mother who 
had so liberalfv filled his basket and seen 
him off with so many tears and blessings, 
that made Mr. Cottrell look so pale and 
seem so nervous when first Paul Penryn 
entered his little office. It was something 
like a glance at his own boyhood to see that 
of his old friend smiling on him from the 
lips and eyes of his son. 

The poor Cornish lad, Colin Cottrell, had 
conceived a romantic affection for Paul's 
uncle during their journey to London in 
that slow-going, ponderous old waggon. 
There was a strong likeness between Paul 
and his father. 

At this moment, when young Penryn 
saw the strong, hard-featured Cornish man 
turn pale with emotion, and tremble as " the 



108 AC QUITTED. 



past" came back to his heart, his own eyes 
filled with tears, his colour faded, and his 
voice faltered. 

Thus affected, he vividly recalled to Mr. 
Cottrell's mind what his father had been at 
the same age. 

Eecovering himself by a strong effort, 
Mr. Cottrell, whose habitual manner was 
rather abrupt and rough, and who concealed 
a good deal of feeling under a sarcastic tone 
and manner, said — 

" Well, sir, better late than never ; but 
it's now ten o'clock, sir, and I expected to 
see you here at nine." 

Paul replied, that what with the long 
journey of the day before, the very early 
hour at which he had risen, and the long 
Avalk from the Paddington Station, he had 
been so very tired that he had slept till past 
nine. 

" Why did you walk from the station, 
sir ?" said Mr. Cottrell. " Were there no 
cabs to be had ?" 



ACQUITTED. 109 



" Plenty, sir," said Paul. "But I am a 
good walker, and the man asked me six shil- 
lings to take me and two fellow-travellers 
to Thames Street. And so — in fact, sir, I 
thought of the old adage, ' A penny saved 
is a penny gained. 5 " 

"Ay," replied Mr. Cottrell, "and ' A fool 
and his money are soon parted.' But who 
were those fellow-travellers who were to 
have ridden in your cab ? Not females, I 
hope, sir ?" 

"Yes, sir, they were," replied Paul. 

Then seeing a frown darkening the Cornish 
man's broad brow, he added — 

" They were an old woman and her grand- 
daughter, with whom I travelled from Pen- 
zance, sir. The old woman is Mrs. Collins, 
of No. — in this street, who tells me she has 
chared for you for twenty years. And in- 
deed, sir, I thought this said so much for 
her honesty and respectability, that I agreed 
to take a room she had to let, for I did 
not know where to look for a lodging, 



110 ACQUITTED. 



and I wished to avoid the expense of a 
London hotel." 

" Old Collins is a very honest, cleanly 
woman," said Mr. Cottrell, " and if you 
are not too fine a gentleman to lodge in 
one room in a very old-fashioned house in 
Thames Street, you cannot be better off than 
with her. But I am amazed at your meet- 
ing her in the train. I should never have 
supposed old Collins would have been fool 
enough to travel in any but the parliamen- 
tary or third-class." 

" Nor did she, sir ; it was in the parlia- 
mentary I met her." 

Mr. Cottrell eyed Paul with satisfaction, 
and said, " Well, sir, the parliamentary is 
luxurious travelling compared to the jolting, 
slow-going Penzance waggon in which your 
father and I came to town for the first time 
forty-five years ago. And yet how delight- 
ful I thought that journey! We were a 
fortnight on the road, sir. In that fortnight 
I grew to love your father, sir. Such a 



ACQUITTED. Ill 



bright, gentle, handsome youth — all heart 
and mind, and no pride about him. I have 
often looked back on that fortnight, sir, as 
one of the happiest times of my life. Heigh 
ho ! But come, sir, we must waste no more 
time. I must introduce you to nry head clerk. 
He'll tell you what you have to do, and 
put you in the way of doing it. Hours from 
nine a.m. to six p.m. — from one to two 
allowed for dinner. Punctuality exacted; 
and though a good deal of time is wasted in 
this office, sir, by some young fellows who 
do not know that my eye is often upon them 
when they least suspect that it is, and that 
if they choose to sow the wind they will 
reap the whirlwind, yet I consider that he 
who spends the time I pay for, in any busi- 
ness but mine, robs me. A word to the wise, 
sir. I hope you left my old friend better ? 
He gives but a poor account of himself, and 
he never was very hearty, and we don't grow 
younger, sir — we don't grow younger, sir; 
nor stronger either. This way, sir." 



112 ACQ.riTTED. 



Mr. Cottrell then introduced Paul to Mr. 
Beagle ; and leaving- him with that gentle- 
man, whose duty it was to initiate him in 
all the duties of his office, he returned to his 
own sanctum. 

Paul rather liked the rough, straightfor- 
ward, self-made man, with strong Cornish 
brogue and square-built form, his massive 
brow, large features, quick eye, and the rare 
smile which lit up his granite face like sun- 
shine. 

Mr. Beagle was very gentle, bland, and 
oily, but Paul greatly preferred Mr. Cottrell. 
As for the younger clerks, he did not like 
their style at all. 

Paul was a gentleman bred and born, and 
he instinctively felt that Fisk, Brymer, and 
the others were " snobs." Paul had no 
foolish pride ; he could be on friendly terms 
with a simple fisherman like Natt Lynn. 

All the peasantry about Pencombe loved 
Master Paul. 

But vulgarity aping fashion, and mean- 



ACQUITTED. 113 



ness glossed over with affectation, disgusted 
him. 

He took no notice of Fisk, Brymer, and 
the rest of them, nor did they of him. 

However, he inspired them with an invo- 
luntary feeling of respect. 

They " chaffed" each other, and talked 
slang, and played off practical jokes between 
themselves, but they instinctively felt it 
would not be more rash to stick pins in Mr. 
Cottreli's chair than in Mr. Penryn's. 

At one o'clock, Paul, declining Mr. Beagle's 
invitation to take him to a house where he 
dined daily, repaired to his own lodging. 

Mr. Beagle had told him that his dinner 
was a marvel of cheapness, never costing him 
more than eighteenpence. 

Paul was quite resolved never to spend 
half that sum on his principal meal ; so he 
declined, with many thanks, saying he pre- 
ferred dining at his own apartments. 

" I should not only waste eighteenpence 
in money/' said Paul to himself, " were I 

vol. n. 8 



114 ACQUITTED. 



weak enough to be unable to say ' no,' and 
<>'o with this Beadle to his coffee-house, but 
I should squander in his uninteresting com- 
pany the whole hour allotted to rest and re- 
freshment. At present I have such an 
abundance of good cheer packed up by poor 
old Patience that I have no occasion to buy 
anything, and when I have, I shall seriously 
consider and calculate what will be the most 
wholesome and least expensive dinner for me. 
Certainly not one at a coffee-house, for as Pa- 
tience said, the masters, the waiter, and all 
the other purveyors must make a profit out of 
the customers ; and a chop or a steak cooked 
by Mrs. Collins over her own fire, with a 
potato or two boiled in her own pot, or baked 
in her own oven, must be better and much 
cheaper than the same fare at a coffee-house. 
Then, too, I cannot, dining by myself, spend 
more than a quarter of an hour at table, and 
I shall have three-quarters for study or for a 
walk, instead of frittering it away with people 
whose society is so distasteful to me." 



ACQUITTED. 115 



When Paul had unfolded his views with 
regard to dinner to Mrs. Collins, he found 
her eager to promote and co-operate in all his 
plans for saving time and money. 

He found his room very neatly and nicely 
arranged. The old oaken press — 

" Contrived, a double debt to pay, 
A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day." 

A clean cloth laid, some humble flowers she 
had brought with her from her daughter's 
cottage, monthly roses, marigolds, sweet 
lavender, and southernwood, put in a quaint 
old vase in the centre of his table, and to 
the ham and cold chicken he had brought 
with him, she had added some baked potatoes, 
which, w- ith a pat of Patience's fresh butter, 
were a treat indeed ! 

Paul, with his little round table drawn up 
to the old-fashioned window jutting out in 
the street, and with a side view of the river, 
certainly enjoyed his dinner much more than 
he would have done a niggard chop in a 



116 ACQUITTED. 



city room full of villanous smells and deafen- 
ing noises. 

Kate waited at table, and so cleverly that 
Paul felt she would indeed be an acquisition 
in the school-room at Lord Altamount's, if 
his recommendation availed to get her so 
eligible a situation. 

Paul's repast over, he obtained from Mrs. 
Collins two flower-pots and some mould, and 
he then potted, with all possible care, the 
myrtle sprig and the spray of scarlet gera- 
nium which Mary Lynn had given him from 
her beloved bosom. 

Mrs. Collins and Kate, who both under- 
stood something of gardening, prophesied 
that both plants would live and thrive, and 
placed on Paul's window-sill they caught a 
few rays of noonday sun and the fresh breeze 
from the river, and certainly were as well as 
could be expected, after their long confine- 
ment. 

It seemed rather depressing and wearisome 
to Paul, whose time had always been at his 



ACQUITTED. 117 



own disposal, and who was accustomed to 
roam about the rocky country and along the 
wild sea-beach at his will, to have to return 
to a dingy counting-house, a desk, a high 
stool, and a ledger. The hour had passed so 
rapidly, that as soon as he had dined and 
had potted the myrtle and geranium, it was 
a quarter to two. So Paul resolutely drove 
away the passionate regrets, the pining and 
repinings that began to haunt him, and 
feeling some exercise necessary, took a little 
walk in the neighbourhood, and entered Mr. 
Cottrell's warehouse just as the clock struck 
two. 

No other clerk was there ; but Mr. Cot- 
trell, as the last chime died away, looked in, 
and seeing Paul at his desk, nodded and 
smiled. At five minutes past two Mr. 
Beagle arrived, and Fisk, Brymer, and the 
other young men in the office, smelling of 
beer and tobacco, came in flushed and gig- 
gling about five minutes later. 

Paul had plenty to do in the way of add- 



118 ACQUITTED. 

ing up, copying, and book-keeping till six 
o'clock. He had been so fully occupied 
that the time had not seemed very long to 
him ; to Fisk and Brymer, who had given 
no such absorbing attention to their work, 
it had appeared interminable. 

While pretending to be doing his duty, 
Fisk was slily writing off notes to different 
Commission Agents in the betting line, and 
enclosing live shillings' worth of postage 
stamps to one and half-a-crown's worth to 
another — for he did things' in a very small 
way indeed — to be put on such or such a 
horse (beguiled by advertisements in which 
it w r as announced that Mr. So.-and-So, com- 
mission agent, " could ensure to any one 
sending five shillings, fifty pounds ; and to 
any one sending Jam half-a-croicn, twenty five 
pounds on the double event"). 

Fisk, though he had gone on at this 
losing game for several months, still be- 
lieved and hoped and trusted, and went on 
enclosing postage stamps and receiving 



ACQUITTED. 119 



vouchers in return, but never won a penny, 
though he seized on all the sporting papers 
wet from the press, and backed whatever 
horses "Argus/ 5 or " Vigilant," or " Oracle" 
or "Sphinx," fixed upon and prophesied. 
" safe to win." 

While Fisk was thus frittering away his 
own money and his employer's time, Bry- 
mer was surreptitiously addressing letters 
to the penny papers, to appear in the cor- 
respondence sheet. 

Answers to " Moss Eosebud," " Passion 
Flower," "Wood Violet," "Mountain 
Maid," " Creeping Jenny," " Pearl," " Bril- 
lante," " Biondina," or " Brunetta ;" and 
signing himself, "Narcissus," "Claude Mel- 
notte/' "Eomeo," " Florizel," "Adonis," 
" St. Preux," " Pelham," and many other 
names. He also wrote sentimental doggrel, 
which he forwarded to all these papers, and 
once, to his delight and surprise, he got a 
weak sonnet — in true Valentine style, called 
"A Sigh" — into a halfpenny paper. 



120 ACQUITTED. 



This success completely turned his head, 
aud made him seem to himself a second 
Byron. 

Mr. Cottrell, who was a widower, had 
" one fair daughter and no more, whom he 
he loved passing well." 

Both the " horsey" Fisk and the sentimen- 
tal Brymer fancied themselves in love with 
Bhoda Cottrell, the heiress, whom they had 
seen at dinner parties at her father's villa 
at Bichmond, but who had never deigned 
to take much notice of them or any other 
of " pa's clerks." 

Bhoda, who was very fond of her father, 
reminded one, when clinging to the rough- 
hewn, stalwart, hard-featured Cornish man, 
and twining her white anus round his bull 
neck, of a delicate pink and white woodbine 
twining round a rugged oak. 

Her mother had been a delicate beaut v 

%/ 

who had died of consumption when Ehoda 
was an infant. 

Bhoda had never been ill, but her fragile 



ACQUITTED. 121 



appearance caused her doting father intense 
anxiety, and added to the excessive tender- 
ness which made him spoil and indulge her 
every whim and caprice. 

Ehoda was a perfect fairy in shape, hue, 
and feature ; so very sylph-like in form, so 
transparently fair, with such a faint roseate 
tint on her cheeks, such large pellucid blue 
eyes shaded by long dark-brown lashes, and 
such a profusion of golden hair, fine as floss- 
silk, floating about her person, such a deli- 
cate little nose, slightly retrousse, such ex- 
quisite teeth, and such a lovely mouth, and 
with hands and feet of such rare beauty ! 
But Ehoda was wilful, passionate, vain, and 
too much given to despise and tyrannize 
over all around her. She seemed to have 
no real love for any one but her father, and 
though a very affectionate, she was not, 
alas ! a very dutiful daughter to him. 

Ehoda had been at a first-rate and very 
fashionable finishing school for young ladies 
in Hyde Park. 



122 ACQUITTED. 



It was a whim of her own to go there 
when she was about fourteen, for she had 
taken an evanescent fancy to a young lady 
whose parents lived in a villa, the grounds 
of which adjoined Mr. CottreH's at Rich- 
mond — both lovely lawns sloping down to 
the noble river. 

A trifling accident had brought about an 
acquaintance between Miss Manners and 
Miss Cottrell, namely, a pet canary belong- 
ing to the latter having flown into a sum- 
mer-house where the former was reading at 
the time. 

The girls became intimate, and Lucy 
Manners' description of her life at Victoria 
House, Hyde Park, made Ehoda Cottrell 
resolve to coax her father into letting her 
become a pupil there. 

On the whole, Ehoda's stay at school did 
her some good. 

She was very quick and full of talent, but 
too capricious, procrastinating, and volatile, 
ever to have really mastered anything. At 



ACQUITTED. 123 



home she thought herself perfect when she 
was only a smatterer, at school she found 
her own level. She heard the truth. Her 
daily governess and the master she had 
had at home had never told her anything 
but what it was pleasant to her to hear. But 
at school she soon discovered — for she had 
naturally an excellent understanding — that 
to excel, she must work hard. 

She was very ambitious, and hated to be 
outdone, and to be obliged to take a low 
place in the school, and she worked so hard 
that she became first in many things, but 
the intense application affected her delicate 
constitution, and her father, alarmed at her 
increased transparency and languor, removed 
her after she had been three years at Victoria 
House. 

Mr. Cottrell, much as he was devoted to his 
business, was still more so to his only child. 

He made arrangements to absent himself 
for two months, and take Rhoda on a Con- 
tinental tour. 



124 ACQUITTED. 



She returned much improved in health 
and bloom a few weeks before Paul's instal- 
lation in her father's office. 

At Victoria House Rhoda had acquired 
some knowledge of the world. She had 
learned, if not herself to appreciate, at least 
that others appreciated, the advantages of 
birth, position, wealth, appearance ; and, 
though singularly generous and unselfish, 
she learnt that a beauty and an heiress, 
although without rank or position, might 
very easily secure both. 

Rhoda had never been in love. 

The Ladies' Principal of Victoria House 
very wisely employed none but first-rate lady 
professors, and at the church they attended 
none but old married clergymen officiated. 

The girls thus escaped the great danger 
of throwing away their first warm affections 
on sly flirting masters, or young curates 
with one hundred a year, and no house. 

Rhoda was romantic, and her standard of 
male perfection was a very high one. 



ACQUITTED. 125 



She had not read many novels, but she 
knew Walter Scott's romances by heart, 
and she required truth, bravery, purity, and 
chivalry in the man of her choice. " Ivan- 
hoe" was her "beau ideal," and compared 
to him the horsey Fisk and the silly Brymer 
seemed utterly contemptible. 

Ehoda listened with a good deal of interest 
to her father's account of his first interview 
with Paul Penryn. 

Mr. Cottrell had all a true-born Cornish 
man's reverence for the old names and old 
families of his romantic county, and none 
were older or more venerated than the name 
of Penryn of Penryn Manor House. 

Mr. Cottrell had guessed that some re- 
verse of fortune had caused Paul to apply 
for, and accept, a clerkship in his office, and 
he had commented upon this probability and 
on the devotion and heroism of the son's 
conduct in speaking of him to Ehoda, 

Rhoda's sympathies were enlisted at once. 
She knew that the " preux chevaliers " of the 



126 ACQUITTED. 



present day was not the hero of tilt or 
tourney armed and cased in steel, with 
helmet and breast-plate, lance and buckler, 
hauberk and shield. 

She knew that modern chivalry must 
confine itself to the spirit and the word, the 
noble purpose and the gentle deed, the 
silent secret sacrifice of self, the open 
brave championship of the innocent and 
the weak ! 

Ehoda figured to herself Paul Penryn as 
the Tvanhoe of the nineteenth century. 

She wished very much indeed to see Paul 
Penryn, and threw out many hints to that 
effect, but for the first time in his life, her 
father did not anticipate her wishes and act 
upon her slightest hint. 

Perhaps, much as he liked Paul, he did 
not wish his beautiful heiress to fall in love 
with a poor man. Perhaps he coveted a 
coronet for that fair brow. 

At any rate, he blamed himself for having 
rashly excited Ehoda's curiosity about Paul, 



ACQUITTED. 127 



and he took good care not to allude to him 
again. But Bhoda, when she took anything 
into her pretty little head, was not easily 
diverted from her purpose. 

She thought over and rejected many plans 
for getting acquainted with Paul; at last 
she resolved on inviting all her young friends 
to a soiree dansante, in honour of the birth- 
day of her friend Lucy Manners. 

She had mentioned her wish to her father, 
and he had cordially approved. He had not 
the slightest suspicion of his darling's real 
motive and secret plot and plan. 

The evening for the soiree dansante was 
fixed. 

Fisk and Brymer, who became aware of 
the intended party, from seeing an invitation 
to a mutual acquaintance, were in a fever of 
hope, anxiety, and alarm. 

Conscience reproached both with gross 
neglect of duty. Both had been reprimanded 
and threatened with dismissal by Mr. Cot- 
trell, and both feared the " Gruv nor" would 



128 ACQUITTED. 



show his displeasure by excluding them from 
the party. 

Vainly they became very punctual. 
Vainly they looked grave, and worked 
very hard, and stayed beyond office hours 
at their desks. 

Mr. Cottrell made no sign. 

But what was their excitement, their 
hope, their glee, when one lovely afternoon 
an elegant equipage drove up to the ware- 
house gates, and out sprang Ehoda Cottrell 
herself. 

How bright in the sunlight looked her 
floating ringlets of gold ! What a fairy she 
seemed in her diaphanous bonnet, veil, and 
mantle, her glossy, silken, sweeping robe of 
peach, shot with silver grey, and what a 
sweet, bright face, all radiant smiles, looked 
in at the office, and what a silvery voice said. 
" How do ye do, Mr. Beagle ? I want to 
see papa. Is he alone ?" 

" Mr. Penryn is with him, miss," said 
Mr. Beagle. 



ACQUITTED. 129 



" Oh, that doesn't matter/' said Bhoda ; 
"I wont keep him a minute/' And, bowing 
graciously as she passed, she knocked at the 
door of Mr. Cottrell's office, and, before lie 
had said " Come in," she stood before him. 

Paul was seated by Mr. Cottrell's side. 

He was writing a letter in French for 
his employer. 

He started up, and said, bowing to the 
lady — " I can finish this by myself, sir /' 
and would have left the room, but he was 
hedged in by Mr. Cottrell's arm-chair on 
one side, and the wall on the other, while the 
large, massive office writing-table was spread 
between him and Bhoda. 

" Why, papa," said the little beauty, 
pouting, "you don't seem glad to see me !" 

"Olives, I am, my darling; but I was 
very busy. — You can go, Penryn," he said, 
rising to make way for Paul to pass. 

" Oh, is that Mr. Penryn, the son of 
your dear old friend? Pray introduce him, 
papa." 

VOL. II. 9 



130 ACQUITTED. 



Mr. Cottrell could not do otherwise. 

" I have so often heard papa speak of 
your father, Mr. Penryn," said Ehoda, "I 
cannot look on you as a stranger ;" and she 
held out her small hand in a faultless grey 
kid glove. 

Paul touched the taper fingers, and said 
he was happy to see her. He was then re- 
tiring Avith a grave bow, when Ehoda said — 

" Papa, Lucy Manners and I have been 
making a list of our beaux and belles, and 
we find that we are very, very short of 
partners ; so I am come to beg you to invite 
Mr. Fisk, Mr. Brymer, Mr. Beagle, and any 
others you like ; and I hope Mr. Penryn 
will give us the pleasure of his company — 
don't you, papa ?" 

" Of course," said Mr. Cottrell, " I shall 
be most happy to see you, Penryn, on the 
17th, if you think it worth your while to 
come so far for a polka and a waltz. I did 
not think you would care about such a 
thing, or J would have asked you before." 



ACQUITTED. 131 



Paul said he was not much of a dancer, 
and that the distance was a great conside- 
ration with him. 

" Oh, if that is all," said Bhoda, " Papa 
can drive you down in his phaeton to 
dinner. You can sleep at our house, and 
you can go back with him the next day. 
Papa, do join your entreaties to mine ! A 
dance is so dull when there are not more 
gentlemen than ladies. I have remarked 
that when there are very few beaux, those 
few give themselves airs and wont dance at 
all ; and when I have abundance, they are 
all seized with a contradictory spirit of 
activity. Beg Mr. Penryn to come, papa ; 
do, there's a dariing old pet !" 

Mr. Cottrell could not resist those appeal- 
ing eyes— those coaxing Avords. 

He made Paul promise to go down with 
him to " The Larches " to dinner, to sleep 
there, and to return the next day. 

Her point gained, Ehoda embraced her 
father, shook hands with Paul, promised 

9—2 



132 ACQUITTED. 



him all the prettiest partners, and flitted 

away. 

As she went, she turned back and said, 

" I suppose I may invite them all, papa — 

may I not ?" 

" Do as you like, my darling," her father 

replied. " They're idle, worthless fellows ; 

but make them useful if you can ; it's more 

than I can do, I assure you." 

It was very haughtily and curtly that the 

beautiful heiress — in passing through the 

office, escorted by her father, who had risen 

and followed her to see her to her carriage 
— invited Messrs. Beagle, Brymer, and Fisk, 
and two young fellows, brothers of the name 
of Lipscombe, to her soiree dansanie. But 
no matter how it was done, since it was done ! 
" The old bird wanted not to have us," 
said Fisk, "but the little beauty has got 
the whip hand of him. He'd kick over the 
traces if he dared, but he doesn't. It was 
a spicy thing of her to come down here to 
make sure of us." 



ICOUITTED. 133 



" I daresay she's seen that sonnet of mine 
to c A Sigh,' " said Brymer. " I sent her 
the paper, and ray initials are to the lines. " 

Poor deluded mortals ! Ehoda's head is 
full of Paul. He has surpassed her expecta- 
tions. Ehoda Cottrell has fallen in love at 
first sight ! 



134 ACQUITTED. 



CHAPTEli X. 

" In the lexicon of youth which Time prepares for a bright 
manhood there 's no such word as fail." 

Lord Lytton, 




AUL was beginning thoroughly to 
understand his duties at Mr. Cot- 
trell's ; and as he rose at six and did 
not go to his office till nine, he had three 
hours at his disposal for morning church 
and the studies he loved. In the evening, 
from six to eleven (the time at which 
he retired), he was entirely his own 
master. 

Paul was now able to calculate with tole- 
rable exactness the certain and inevitable 
expense of his mode of life. 

Confining himself in everything to what 
was strictly necessary, he found he could 



ACQUITTED. 130 



not spend less, on an average, than ten or 
eleven shillings a week — half what he was 
earning at Mr. Cottrell's. 

" I shall never replace Ann's trust fund at 
this rate," said Paul to himself; "for twenty- 
five pounds a year will not pay the interest. 
In the first place, I feel sure that Mr. Cot- 
trell will promote me as soon as he can, for 
he is much pleased with my book-keeping 
and French composition. He hinted that 
my salary would be doubled ere long ; but 
unless all the best years of my life are to 
glide by and find me doomed to the unin- 
tellectual labour of a counting-house, I must 
hit on some way of greatly adding to my 
resources. I can always run my eye over 
the advertisements in The Times, and I fre- 
quently see things advertised that would 
suit me exactly. I will take down the ad- 
dresses of such to-morrow, and answer them 
in the evening." 

On the following day The Times contained 
an advertisement : — 



loo ACQUITTED. 



" TO CLASSICAL SCHOLARS. 
" A gentleman engaged on a classical work requires the 
help of a young gentleman who is a good Latin and Greek 
scholar, to copy out his MS. for the press and to make an 
index. He can do the work at his own home, and will be 
handsomely remunerated. References exchanged. — Address, 
P. P., Omega, Peel's Coffee House, Fleet-street, E.C." 

Paul, who really was a very good scholar, 
felt certain he could do all that was re- 
quired, and that his morning hours would 
suffice for this, to him, pleasant and im- 
proving work. 

He took down this address, as he did 
that of the two following advertisements : — 

" A young gentleman wants a competent person to help 
him to get up his lessons for a first-class tutor, who attends 
him twice a week. Hours preferred from 8 to 10 in the 
evening, four times a week. — Address B. B., stating terms 
(which must be moderate), No. — , Charlotte-street, Fitzroy- 
square." 

The other advertisements which attracted 
his attention were, the one — 

"An invalid gentleman, rather hard of hearing, and whose 
eyesight is too weak to allow of his reading to himself, re- 
quires a gentleman with a strong clear voice to read to him 
for an hour and a half every evening. Remuneration liberal 
to a really good reader. — Address X. Y. Z., No. 60, Bedford- 
square, W.C." 



ACQUITTED. 137 



The last was — 

'• To young gentlemen who understand book-keeping by 
double and single entry. An hour every evening may be 
spent very profitably by a good accountant. — Address Bona 
fide, 100, Strand." 

Paul answered all these letters. 

He was inexperienced in such matters, 
and therefore very sanguine. 

He felt that he possessed all the require- 
ments necessary to secure these engagements, 
and he forgot that in this great Refuge of the 
Destitute — London — there were thousands 
of young men similarly situated, many of 
whom added to the necessary talents and 
powers, an amount of experience of which 
he could not boast. 

However, he did not idly await the result 
of his replies to these advertisements before 
setting to work to fill up his leisure hours. 

Still clinging to the hope of one day ob- 
taining a scholarship at Oxford, he resolved 
for the present to devote his morning hours 
to classics and mathematics, and until he 



138 ACQUITTED. 



could obtain certain remunerative employ- 
ment for his evenings, he determined to try 
his hand at such light literature in the shape 
of essays, poems, and short stories as he 
perceived to form the staple of shilling maga- 
zines. 

He had been in town a week, and he was 
now quite at home at his office, and familiar 
with his duties. 

His time was so fully occupied that ennui 
could not lay her heavy hand on him ; but 
no letter had arrived from Mary Lynn, and 
a vague uneasiness was beginning to agitate 
his brow and bosom. Paul felt entire con- 
fidence in Mary Lynn. 

She had promised to write to him as 
soon as the}^ were in London, and he felt 
certain, as he had not heard from her, that 
something had happened to delay her depar- 
ture from Altamount Castle. 

With that ingenious power of self-torment- 
ing which belongs to Love, he began to fear 
that Mary Lynn herself might be laid up. 



ACQUITTED. 139 



He remembered how very pale and deli- 
cate she had looked the last time he had 
seen her, and how glad Miss Osgood was (on 
Mary's account) when he proposed to drive 
the ladies back to the Castle in the pony 
phaeton. 

Paul could not venture to write to Mary 
Lynn herself. 

He had already written twice to his father, 
and had tried to cheer him up by making 
the best of his own position in town ; but he 
had never given Mr. Penryn the slightest 
hint of his attachment to Mary Lynn, and 
he could not bear to excite his father's 
suspicions by making any inquiry about her. 

Paul knew that in spite of his weakness 
and his timidity there was a good deal of 
family pride in his father's heart. He felt 
certain that it would be a terrible blow to 
that fond, unhappy father were he to learn 
that his son loved the daughter of Xatt Lynn, 
the fisherman ! 

In years to come, when Paul had made a 



140 ACQUITTED. 



fortune, and was his own master, and when 
Mary was, as Paul felt sure she would be, a 
most elegant and accomplished woman, and 
when he had saved his father by replacing 
the thousand pounds, then he might ask as 
a reward that good father's consent to his 
marriage and his blessing on his choice, but 
not now, — now such an additional sorrow 
might prove too much for the afflicted old 
man, and so Paul never mentioned Mary 
Lynn's name in his letters to his father. 

Paul made up his mind to write to ]Satt 
Lynn. 

He had half promised to let the honest 
fisherman, whom he had known and loved 
from his infancy, know how he liked that 
great, far-distant London, of which Natt had 
heard and thought so much, but which he 
had never seen. 

Yes, Paul resolved, if the next day brought 
him no news of Mary, that he would write 
to Natt Lynn, and ask him where and how 
his daughter was. 



ACQUITTED. 141 



The day on which Paul came to this reso- 
lution was that on which he was to dine and 
sleep at " The Larches." 

To Paul this visit (interfering as it did 
with the plan he had drawn out) was rather 
distasteful than otherwise ; but what rage 
and envy were excited in the breasts of all 
the other clerks, when it was whispered about 
in the office that Paul Penryn, as he was 
called, was actually to drive down to " The 
Larches" with the Guv'nor, and to dine and 
sleep there. 

Fisk and Brymer, who had been in high 
spirits at the idea of the soiree du.nsante to 
which they had been invited, no sooner heard 
of Paul's intended visit, than they felt in- 
jured rather than complimented by their 
own invitations. 

Bitter envy, fierce jealousy, and smoulder- 
ing hate filled their breasts when Paul 
arrived, carrying a small carpet bag in his 
hand. 

There had been as yet no approach to in- 



142 ACQUITTED. 



timacy between Paul and the other clerks, 
but common civilities had hitherto been ex- 
changed, and his cheerful good-morrow had 
been cordially, and, in spite of themselves, 
rather respectfully returned. 

On this particular day, very curt, dry, and 
sullen were the replies Fisk, Brvmer, and 
even Beagle made to Paul's morning 
greeting. 

Paul took no notice of these evidences of 
ill-will. His mind was engrossed by some 
difficult calculations he had to make for Mr. 
Cottrell, and when he had a moment's re- 
spite from mental labour, anxiety about 
Mary Lynn, and her silence, occupied his 
thoughts. 

When he entered Mr. Cottrell's office to 
take him the calculations he had made for 
him, Mr. Cottrell proposed to him to share 
his luncheon, which had just been brought in. 

Here was a fresh cause of envy for the 
other clerks. 

Mr. Cottrell, liberal-minded, as self-made 



ACQUITTED. 143 



men very often are, had resolved to do no- 
thing by halves. 

He had intended not to introduce to his 
darling Rhoda a young fellow so handsome, 
so winning, and so calculated to make a 
deep impression on her heart ; but as fate 
had willed it otherwise, and the young people 
had become acquainted, Mr. Cottrell resolved 
to show the most cordial hospitality to the 
son of his old friend, and when he recollected 
Paul's friendless and isolated position, alone 
in London, and away for the first time from 
his father and all early friends, he blamed 
himself for not having shown him more at- 
tention and taken him home with him to 
"The Larches" the first day he had seen 
him. 

" After all," said Mr. Cottrell to himself, 
" I may have no reason to fear; it is not be- 
cause Paul Penryn seems so charming a 
young fellow to me that my fanciful little 
Rhoda may take a liking to him. Perhaps 
some fast man of the West End clubs, some 



1U ACQUITTED. 



handsome officer of a crack regiment, or 
some guitar-playing, sentimental foreigner 
would be more to her taste than this manly, 
brave young fellow. But I will be on the 
watch ; I will keep my eyes open. I should 
not like Ehoda to marry a poor man, and I 
feel sure the Penryns are very poor." 

Mr. Cottrell would not let Paul resume 
his work after luncheon. 

He had a good deal of shopping to do for 
Ehoda, connected with the party. When 
the excellent luncheon, from Birch's, Corn- 
hill, was over, Mr. Cottrell kept Paul in con- 
versation about an hour, and on Mr. Beagle 
sending to know whether Mr. Penryn would 
answer certain letters, the replies to which 
must be posted before six, Mr. Cottrell him- 
self answered " No," and added, " Mr. Beagle 
must answer them himself." 

With what snake-like glances, pale faces, 
and bitten lips all the other clerks saw Paul 
Penryn take his seat by Mr. Cottrell' s side 
in the phaeton of the latter, and what 



ACQUITTED. 145 



" sights" were taken at his back as the hi^h- 
stepping " chestnut tits" bore the handsome 
carriage rapidly away ! 

* * # * 

There was a great freshness and charm 
about " The Larches." 

It was a spacious and beautiful Gothic 
villa, standing in exquisite, well-wooded 
grounds, and its extensive lawn sloped down 
to the Thames. 

After the sun, the heat, and the dust of 
the road, the cool verdure of " The Larches" 
was very refreshing. 

The place took its name from three mag- 
nificent larches which stood like sentinels at 
the gates, but the weeping-willows were the 
boast and chief charm of the gardens. The 
house was elegantly furnished, and female 
taste was perceptible in every article of fur- 
niture, every picture and statue, every vase 
of flowers, and every blossoming shrub. 

Hhoda wore light diaphanous draperies of 
pure white and of the soft green of a young 

vol. ii. 10 



116 ACQUITTED. 



rose-tree. Her scolloped tunic border and 
ribbons were of this beautiful green, flowered 
with gold. Her golden tresses, bound a la 
Grecque with three bands of green and gold, 
but floating down her back and over her 
white shoulders in glittering ringlets, gave 
a classical effect to her beauty. 

She welcomed her father's guest with cor- 
dial grace ; and had Paul's heart not been 
guarded by a memory — the memory of Mary 
Lynn — and fenced by the triple steel of a 
prior attachment, he could scarcely have 
withheld his love from so fair and captivating 
a creature. 

Ehoda was so natural in her manners, 
and so full of life and spirits, that she 
contrived to make the hour before dinner, 
which is generally so dull, particularly in 
a country or suburban house, positively 
enjoyable. 

She showed Paul all her favourite birds 
and flowers, her drawings and fancy works ; 
the books she loved best, and the photo- 



ACQUITTED. 147 



graphs of all her schoolfellows, and of the 
teachers and lady professors at Victoria 
Honse. 

She consulted him about the arrangements 
for the evening party, and enlisted his 
services to make it go off well. 

Paul was the only guest at dinner. 

Khoda's delicate and graceful mirth, and 
her father's genuine hospitality, made this 
recherche little dinner very pleasant. 

Paul had never partaken of a modern 
Diner Busse before. 

He had on some few occasions accom- 
panied his father to dinner parties, at the 
houses of their wealthy county neighbours, 
but the old style was persevered in at the 
Land's End. There the table groaned (as did 
Paul inwardly) beneath the weight of the 
massive silver covers and substantial viands. 

Paul's impression of dinner parties was 
a very disagreeable one. 

But at " The Larches," though such a 
rough-hewn parvenu presided, every modern 

10—2 



148 ACQUITTED. 



mode and grace had been introduced to 
please. 

Ehoda's aristocratic friend Lucy Manners 
belonged to a family where everything was 
done in the newest mode and the best style, 
but where the income did not amount to as 
many hundreds annually as Mr. Cottrell 
could boast thousands. 

From her visits to " The Rosery," Rhoda 
had learned how things ought to be clone, 
what tradespeople it was best to employ, 
and how the money so liberally supplied by 
her father, could be spent to the best ad- 
vantage. 

The dining-room seemed to Paul, who 
had dreaded a hot, protracted, heavy dinner, 
a cool grotto. 

Ferns and fountains abounded. So did 
ice and flowers. 

The decoration of the table was quite 
artistic in its beauty, and Paul thought, as 
he gazed at Ehoda, who so exactly realized 
all he had ever dreamt of Titania, that it 



ACQUITTED. 149 



was as if two mortals (her father and him- 
self), had been invited to a banquet by the 

Fairy Queen. 

* * * # 

The evening guests began to arrive about 
nine. 

Miss Lucy Manners, in whose honour the 
party was given, was a well-bred, elegant 
girl, interesting without beauty, and agree- 
able without brilliancy. 

She seemed very much attached to Ehoda, 
and she watched Paul Penryn furtively but 
very closely, as if for some reason known 
only to herself, she took an interest (a real 
interest), in his character and person. 

Perhaps the impulsive, frank, and de- 
monstrative Ehoda had revealed to her only 
friend and confidante what she had whispered 
to her own heart as she drove home from the 
warehouse in Thames Street to the villa at 
Richmond, that in seeing Paul Penryn she 
had seen her fate. That a stranger was now 
and for ever master of that wilful, coy, and 



150 ACQUITTED. 



rebel heart, whose first sigh would (Lucy 
felt), like Julie's, be le destin de sa vie. 

Fisk and Brymer arrived late, partly be- 
cause they thought it fashionable to drop in 
when the evening was drawing to a close, 
and partly because each had ordered a new 
evening suit, in the extreme of the fashion, 
for this important occasion. 

Now as they were not very good pay, 
and were very deep in their tailor's books, 
he had revenged himself for the many dis- 
appointments they had caused him in cash, 
and the many fibs they had told him, by 
keeping them in expectation of their new 
clothes till a late hour, and then by not 
sending the coats, which were the most im- 
portant part of their attire (a new fashion 
having recently come in in dress-coats), and 
Fisk and Brymer having in their own 
fancies, figured as irresistible in this last new 
fashion. 

Nor was this harrowing delay and mad- 
dening disappointment in those entrancing 



ACQUITTED. 151 

coats, the only cause of the very late ap- 
pearance of Brymer and Fisk at Rhoda's 
soiree dansante. 

Both were bent on eclipsing all the other 
" cavaliers" in the brilliancy of their boots 
and in the smallness of feet which Nature 
had made rather large and flat, but which a 
very narrow, tight boot, once on, would con- 
vert into a thorough- bred extremity, with a 
hollow sole and a high instep. 

The agony of the process was something 
which it required the spirit of a martyr to 
endure. 

The tight boot of the Inquisition was 
not much more painful ; but of all incen- 
tives to martyrdom vanity is the most 
general, and in the case of Fisk and Brymer, 
jealousy and rivalship with Paul added to 
the heroism of endurance. 

Nature had bestowed on Paul a very 
thorough-bred, arched, pliant foot, with a 
high instep, and a hollow under the sole 
where water might have flowed, yet left the 



152 ACQUITTED. 



toe and heel dry-shod. It was a small foot 
for a youth of five feet eleven, and on the 
day of the party at " The Larches/' Paul had 
struck anguish and despair to the hearts of 
Fisk and Brymer by arriving at the office 
in a pair of bottes vernis, or evening boots, of 
a very elegant cut and style. 

To out-do Paul Penryn in patent leather 
boots became essential to his rivals' peace 
of mind, and cash being very short (in 
Fisk's case through the betting Commission 
Agents, and in Brymer's through photo- 
graphs, hair, jewellery, and through having 
had his " Deep, deep Sigh " printed on per- 
forated cards, and scented by Eimmel), they 
were obliged to have recourse to emporiums 
of misfits and second-hand boots. 

After a great deal of time and trouble 
had been expended, and after the purveyor 
had narrowly escaped apoplexy in stooping- 
down to pull on a succession of those tight 
misfits by main force, a dozen failures ended 
in a brilliant success ; the shoemaker pledg- 



ACQUITTED. 



ing his honour that any little tightness 
would wear off before they had danced one 
set, and that in reality the boots did not 
pinch anywhere, but that a first-rate fit 
always did seem a little tight at first. 

Both then were suited to their minds ; 
at least so they thought, at the shop in 
Holborn ; but when the evening and the 
boots were both come, and no strong, prac- 
tised hand of shoemaker (bent on sale) was 
there to help, neither Fisk nor Brymer 
could get a foot into the smart, shiny boots ! 
Every device was tried — soap, hair-powder, 
shoe-horns, boot-hooks, burnt paper ! 

Fisk, like Cinderella's sister when trying 
on the glass slipper, had got his foot in all 
but just the heel, and Brymer, purple in 
the face, could neither get his boot on or off. 

At the stamping they made, kicking 
their toes against the wainscoting, the 
mistress of the house where they lodged 
rushed up to know what was the matter. 

She was a ladies' wardrobe-purchaser and 



VA ACQUITTED. 



vendor, and she had some very thin open- 
work silk stockings for sale. 

As Fisk and Brymer were in that state 
of despair when any friendly counsel is wel- 
come, and shame and its scruples vanish, 
they willingly agreed to try whether they 
could get the boots on if, instead of cotton 
socks (not in a very good condition), each 
tried a pair of these extra- fine silk hose. 

By Mrs. TasselFs advice they bathed 
their feet in alum and water, and then 
made a last desperate effort to get the boots 
on with the thin silk stockings. 

Jubilate ! Jubilate ! they have won the 
day, or rather the night. 

" In the war with the Tit'ns we have 
come off victorious !" cried Fisk. " Health 
and long life to Mrs. Tassell ! I'll back her 
against any other woman in London as a 
friend in need." 

Yes, the boots were on ! and at first they 
seemed endurable, but by the time the 
Martyrs of the tight boot had reached " The 



ACQUITTED. 155 



Larches" the agony they suffered beg- 
gars description. Their feet had swollen 
owing to the heat and the violent com- 
pression. 

They hobbled rather than walked into 
the presence of the Enchantress. 

The tortures they suffered gave a horrible 
glare to their eyes and a grim expression 
to the tightened lips beneath which their 
teeth were ground. 

Vain were their well-dressed heads, their 
embroidered shirt-fronts, their studs, their 
spotless white kid, tight-fitting gloves, their 
open collars, and their lace-edged white ties. 

They saw Paul — at ease in his mind and 
in his boots — lightly waltzing with his arm 
round Khoda's fairy waist, and they sank 
down together on a form in despair. 

"I say, old boy,'*' cried Fisk, " I don't 
know how you feel, but I'm suffering the 
tortures of the condemned; however, I'm 
resolved I'll never say die. I've made up 
my mind to grin and bear it, and as soon 



156 ACQUITTED. 



as this confounded waltz is over, I'll ask 
Khoda to dance the next polka with me !" 

" I can't stir," hissed Brymer. " I feel as 
if my feet were in boiling oil." 

"Well, I own my boots seem made 
of red-hot iron," said Fisk, " but proud 
Penryn shan't triumph over me. Look ! 
look ! our boots beat his hollow ! " 

"Oh !" groaned Brymer, "if I could but 
get out into the garden unseen, I'd get mine 
off if I had to cut them away bit by bit 
with my penknife, and I'd gladly walk 
barefoot to town." 

At this moment Bhocla Cottrell, leaning 
on Paul's arm, passed, and, overflowing with 
kindness, for she was intensely happy, and 
happiness is the mother of amiability, said, 
"Mr. Fisk, will you dance the next 
polka?" 

Pain was forgotten ; the coxcomb thought 
she meant to invite him to dance with her. 

" I shall be very happy," said Fisk, red- 
dening and bridling. 



ACQUITTED. 157 



" Then follow me, and I will introduce 
you to a charming partner." 

Fisk could not draw back, and in a few 
moments he was launched in a very quick 
polka with his arm round the waist of a 
very fine woman of thirty, on the largest 
scale. 

In dancing, the pain caused by his very 
tight boots was intense ; and on trying to 
diminish it by pressing on one side of his 
foot, he lost his balance and fell. 

His Amazonian partner soon dragged 
him up again, but he could not proceed. 
He told her he had sprained his ankle, and 
was in very great pain. 

Just at this moment he saw several people 
crowding round the corner where Brymer 
was trying to hide himself and his anguish. 

He limped to the spot, and to his dismay 
perceived that Brymer had fainted. 

In this accident Fisk, however, beheld a 
favourable opportunity and excuse for 
getting away. 



158 ACQUITTED. 



He begged a waiter to call a cab. 

There were many outside in the road 
waiting for the chance of being hired. 

As soon as Burner was restored to con- 
sciousness, Fisk followed him to the cab, to 
which he was half-led, half- carried by a foot- 
man and a waiter. 

When once they were fairly off, Brymer 
cut several large slits in his misfits, and 
then advised Fisk to follow his example. 

" I'll never wear a tight boot again as 
long as I live," said Brymer, when, having 
reached his lodgings, he thrust his burning, 
blistered feet into his slippers. 

Fisk having done the same thing, sat 
down to a supper of bread-and-cheese and 
beer. 

And when Brymer exclaimed, " After all, 
the philosopher was right who said ' Plea- 
sure is the absence of pain' " — 

" Bight as a trivet !" cried Fisk. " We're 
done brown, Brymer ! And yet I'm in 
heaven now, and no mistake." 



ACQUITTED. 150 



CHAPTER XI. 

Bright 'mid the damsels of Delos, bright with the blush 
Of emotion, moved the fair form of Cydippe lithe as the 

bow of a 
Linden. Kichly her ringlets of auburn strayed thro' the 

woof of 
The network binding the braid of her tresses." 

The Golden Apple, by 
Charles Kent. 

man of Paul's age could be quite 
indifferent to the delicate and flat- 
tering attentions paid to him by the 
caj:>tivating and beautiful girl, who was the 
object of such universal homage at " The 
Larches •" and whose smiles — lavished on 
him — were so vainly sought and so eagerly 
contended for by all the other gentlemen 
present. 

Although ever and anon the thought of 
Mary Lynn, and a pang of anxiety about 




160 ACQUITTED. 



her, crossed his mind, he could not, at the 
impressionable age of nineteen, resist the, to 
him, novel charms and delights of inspiring 
music, brilliant toilettes, graceful beauties 
all smiles and softness, and all — taking 
their tone from their young hostess — treat- 
ing Paul with preference, and with extreme 
courtesy and cordiality. 

Paul had learned to dance in his early 
boyhood of a French professor, who came 
every winter to Penzance, partly for the 
sake of his own poitrine, and partly for that 
of his purse — for his academy was well 
attended ; but till this soiree dansante at "The 
Larches" he had no idea of the pleasure of 
dancing to good inspiring music with such 
a fairy as Rhoda Cottrell. 

Champagne and ices, and punch a la 
Bomaine, were luxuries new to Paul : and in 
the Coquette dance, which at 3 a.m. wound 
up this charming evening, he, having been 
accepted in preference to all the other aspi- 
rants by Ehoda Cottrell, when he was led 



ACQUITTED. 161 



up to her, had not the heart to reject the 
blushing sylph, when she, in her turn, was 
brought up to him. 

Mr. Cottrell was in high spirits during 
the whole evening. He had never seen his 
darling look so well, so happy, and so beau- 
tiful. 

He did not know what subtle and secret 
influence lent such a glow to her cheek, 
such lustre to her eyes, such lightness to 
her step. 

Every one congratulated him on his 
daughter's now confirmed recovery j and at 
midnight, just as Paul was leading Elioda 
down to supper, Lord Snowdon, a wealthy 
nobleman, who had a beautiful villa not far 
from " The Larches," was announced. 

There was a slight acquaintance (only a 
recent one) between the Cottrells and Lord 
Snowdon, arising out of Rhoda having, 
while rowing in her pleasure boat, taken 
refuge during a storm in a summer-house 
belonging to Lord Snowdon ; but his lord- 

VOL. II. 11 



162 ACQUITTED. 



ship had shown great admiration for Bhoda 
in the few formal visits he had paid at " The 
Larches." 

He was a handsome, middle-aged man, a 
widower, without children. 

His character was unimpeachable, and he 
was a political celebrity — of Conservative 
principles. Lord Snowdon was slightly bald, 
and inclining to embonpoint; but he was 
elegant in his dress and manners, dignified, 
a little artificial, but very distingue. 

At heart he was very proud, but his pride 
only betrayed itself in the graceful shape of 
condescension. 

Was it possible that Mr. Cottrell, over- 
rating those advantages of birth and position 
which he did not possess, had hoped that 
his lordship's object in visiting him was to 
win his daughter's love? And, if so, no 
wonder he did not wish her to take a fancy 
to Paul Penryn. 

Lord Snowdon did not dance. 

He was well aware that unless a man of 



ACQUITTED. 163 



fifty has preserved the slightness and light- 
ness of youth, he does not appear to advan- 
tage in a waltz or a polka. 

Years weigh heavily on him who would, in 
spite of them and of the rotundity they often 
entail, " trip it on the light fantastic toe !" 

But Lord Snowdon took a place at supper 
on Rhoda's right hand (Paul being on her 
left) ; and as he was a fluent, clever talker, 
quite an courani about every interesting 
topic of the day, and if not witty himself, 
was an adroit adapter of the don mots of 
others, he compelled her to withdraw her 
attention from Paul, to answer some adroit 
compliment to herself, or sarcastic allusion 
to some other person. 

When supper was over he offered his arm, 
in a manner at once deferential and de- 
termined, that rendered her declining it im- 
possible. 

After this, when she danced he stood near 
her, carrying her fan and bouquet ; and when 
she sate down he easily found a place by her 

11—2 



164 ACQUITTED. 



side — for all the guests were of the aspiring 
class, which always looks up to and makes 
way for a lord ! 

Ehoda Cottrell was rather gratified by 
the attentions of a man of rank and title. 

She was pleased that Paul should see that 
one accustomed to all that is most refined 
and accomplished in female beauty, thought 
so highly of her. 

Mr. Cottrell was greatly flattered by his 
lordship's attentions to Rhoda. 

He had scarcely hoped Lord Snowdon 
would really have accepted an invita- 
tion to a soiree dansante at " The Larches I" 
And yet there he was, while Rhoda was 
gliding through a quadrille with Paul, 
standing behind her, carrying her bouquet 
and fan, a very Lord in Waiting, quite 
at home at " The Larches," and apparently 
as willing to be amused as if he had been 
a commoner ! 

Mr. Cottrell would not have given his 
Rhoda to a profligate bad man if he had 



ACQUITTED. 165 



been as rich as Croesus, and a duke ; nor if 
lie had been old, ugly, gouty, or imbecile. 
But here was a nobleman of high character 
—handsome, clever, and in the prime of life ! 
No wonder the father hoped Ehoda had 
really been so fortunate as to make such a 
conquest. 

No wonder Ehoda, her heart full of Paul, 

thought Lord Snowdon (as she saw the 

two side by side), stout, elderly, and rather 

a bore, compared to the realization of her 

girlish dream, her beau ideal, the tall, 

graceful, slender young man with the down 

of nineteen on his lip, the bloom of 

nineteen on his cheek, the clear, bright, 

dark blue eye, and crisp abundant curls 

of youth, which made Lord Snowdon's few 

thin locks seem fewer still, and gave his 

eyes a weary and a worldly look ; but 

above all, no wonder she preferred genius 

and nature in Paul, to art and acquired 

talents in the peer. 



166 ACQUITTED. 



Mr. Cottrell and Paul did not leave " The 
Larches" till late in the afternoon of the 
day after the party. Fisk and Brymer were 
at their posts in the office, but looking 
gloomy and crestfallen. 

Paul longed for six o'clock, that he might 
hasten to his lodgings to see if there was a 
letter awaiting him from Mary Lynn. 



ACQUITTED. 167 




CHAPTER XII. 

Heaven first taught letters for some wretch's aid." 

Tope. 

|AU L rushed upstairs with a wild hope 
fluttering at his heart, and for once 
hope did not end in disappoint- 
ment. 

On his table lay a letter. 
He recognised the handwriting at a 
glance ; and well he might, for the letter was 
from Mary, and he had taught Mary Lynn 
to write. 

He longed to open the delicate and wel- 
come missive, and yet he held it in his hand 
for some time before he had courage to break 
the pretty little seal on which " Mary " was 
engraved in Hebrew letters. It was a seal 



168 ACQUITTED. 



lie had given her as a birthday present long 
ago. 

The post-mark was a London one. He 
therefore felt sure she was in town. 

At length, with a sudden resolve, he 
ojiened the letter. It was dated Altamount 
House, Grrosvenor Square. 

It ran as follows : — 

My dear Master Paul, — I hope you have 
not been uneasy at my silence, but we are 
only just arrived here; our departure was 
delayed by a serious illness of Master 
Jasper's, and a slighter one of mine. 

He is almost recovered, and I am quite 
so. I have ascertained that the church we 
shall attend while we are in town is St. 
Mary's, Bryanston Square ; we shall walk in 
Hyde Park (near Kensington Gardens) after 
morning church on Sunday. I should be 
very glad to see you, if only for a few minutes. 
Lady Derwent has been very civil to me 
since the quarrel I told you of, but there is 



ACQUITTED. 169 



a talk of Master Jasper's wintering in Italy 
or the South of France, and as Lord Der- 
went could not leave England now he is in 
Parliament, Lady Derwent would go with 
hinn and in that case I could not bear to be 
of the party, for I know she hates me, and 
that once aw T ay from my Lord and Miss 
Osgood, she w r ould treat me worse than ever. 
So unless I am allowed to stay at the Castle 
with Miss Osgood and my pupils, I shall be 
obliged to look out for another situation ; 
for I am ashamed to own, Master Paul, that 
I do not think I could be happy now at 
home in father's cottage, w r orking hard 
as I did once, and living like the poor 
peasant girl I am, without books, music, 
pictures, and the elegancies and comforts I 
am now accustomed to. You said the 
Castle would spoil me for the Cottage, and 
so I fear it has ; but Miss Osgood says she 
is sure she could get me a good situation 
even if I left this family, which, however, 
she says I shall not do if she can help it, 



170 ACQUITTED. 



and she has great influence here. But I will 
tell you more when we meet. 

" I am, dear Master Paul, 

" Most truly yours, 

" Mary." 

Paul was a little disappointed in this long 
looked-for letter. 

It seemed rather cold, common-place, and 
matter of fact. His love for her had raised 
her in his imagination to a level with him- 
self. Love, , which "lays the shepherd's 
crook beside the sceptre," is so great and 
universal a leveller. Paul felt ashamed that 
the " maiden of his bosom," the beautiful, 
gifted, and graceful girl he hoped one day 
to wed, should write to him almost as a 
housemaid might have done, addressing him 
as Master Paul, and not venturing to express 
an opinion or sentiment. 

He did not know exactly what he had ex- 
pected, and he forgot that, as no word of 
love, no confession of her feelings towards 



ACQUITTED. 171 



him, bad ever passed her lips, she could 
not, without a forwardness which was foreign 
to her nature, take the initiative and venture 
uninvited on the delicate ground of senti- 
ment. 

Mary's dark eyes, her ever-changing 
colour, her voice, her manner, had uncon- 
sciously to herself been eloquent interpre- 
ters of a maiden's timid but passionate 
love. 

Those evidences of sensibility she could 
not conceal or control; but when deliberatelv 
sitting down to write a letter, she, Mary 
Lynn, the fisherman's daughter, to Paul 
Penryn, son of Squire Penryn of Penryn 
Manor House, she felt compelled to check 
every expression of affection, and to write 
as if she were only obeying the commands 
of a superior, not following the impulse 
of her own loving heart. 

On reflection, Paul acknowledged to him- 
self that " Mary could not have written 
more warmly without sacrificing that ex- 



172 ACQUITTED. 



quisite delicacy which, in his eyes, formed 

one of her chief attractions, and he longed 

to see her again, to convince himself by her 

blushes, the eloquent softness of her eyes, 

and the tender graces of her manner, that 

she did not look upon him as a stranger, or 

at least as a cold, patronizing well-wisher 

only!" 

* * * * 

Mr. Cottrell found Paul's knowledge of 
modern languages of great service to him. 
There were excellent French and German 
masters at Penzance, and Paul for many 
years had attended their classes regularly. 

Of late, at Mr. Cottrell's, mistakes had 
often occurred in interpreting and answer- 
ing foreign letters ; but now all such corre- 
spondence was entrusted to Paul, and to his 
great delight, Mr. Cottrell, while thus in- 
creasing his work and his responsibility, 
trebled his salary. 

At one time there had been a " foreign 
correspondence" clerk in the office. 



ACQUITTED. 173 



He was a delicate young Frenchman from 
Marseilles, who had died of fogs and ennui 
in London, and Mr. Cottrell had not found 
any one to supply his place. 

This young man's salary had been two 
guineas a week. 

Mr. Cottrell, in entrusting the " foreign 
correspondence" to Paul, thought it only 
fair to add to his salary that which he had 
formerly paid to Monsieur Folatre ; but 
as Paul still retained his original appoint- 
ment, his employer warned him that he 
might, and probably would, be obliged occa- 
sionally either to remain at the office after 
the other clerks were gone, or else to take 
the foreign letters with him to his lodgings, 
to answer them there. 

Paul had, as the reader knows, one great 
object in life, one aim of which he never for 
a moment lost sight, namely, the replacing 
the thousand pounds trust-money, and thus 
restoring his father to peace of mind, and 
saving from disgrace his home and his name. 



174 ACQUITTED. 



It was, therefore, with unutterable joy and 
gratitude that he accepted the additional 
appointment offered to him. 

What cared he for extra work, when every 
week he should receive three pounds two, 
instead of the solitary sovereign, of which 
(manage and stint himself as he might and 
did) ten shillings were reluctantly dis- 
bursed for the necessaries of life. 

Paul's increased salary and advancement 
to the important post of ''Foreign Corre- 
spondent," raised him immensely in the 
eyes of Fisk and Brymer. 

Hitherto, clever and gentlemanly as Paul 
was, he had been paid less than they were, 
and therefore there was a point (a very im- 
portant one too) from which they looked 
down upon him. 

Now his salary more than doubled theirs, 
and Fisk began to think of changing his 
tactics and trying to conciliate a fellow who 
might and could lend a pound or two to a 
friend in distress. 



ACQUITTED. 175 



Fisk, therefore, began paying Paul little 
attentions, such as handing him the Times, 
consulting him as to whether he liked the 
blind up or down, the windows open or shut, 
and volunteering any startling news con- 
nected with the sporting world. 

Brymer, who imitated Fisk in everything 
but his "horsey" tastes (for his timidity 
made him afraid of the turf), became posi- 
tively obsequious to Paul when he saw Fisk 
so polite. He filled Paul's inkstand, and he 
made and mended his pens. 

Brymer had a wonderful talent for making 
and mending quill-pens, and at Mr. Cot- 
trell's no others were used. 

He supplied him with blotting paper and 
sand, and as Paul was much too amiable not 
to receive these attentions kindly, Brymer 
actually presented him with a perforated 
card embossed with hearts and darts, Cupids 
and Psyches, on which was printed in gold, 
his own poem — 

"A Deep, Deep Sigh." 



176 ACQUITTED. 



Paul neither knew nor cared to inquire 
whence arose this wondrous change in the 
demeanour of these two clerks. 

As for Mr. Beagle, he had always been 
very civil and unctuous in his manner, but 
there was something about him which Paul 
did not like, and all Beagle's coaxing ad- 
vances had not won any confidence from 
Paul. 

One day, as Paul was taking a turn in 
Cheapside after his early dinner (before 
returning to the office), Fisk joined him. 

He had a sporting paper in his hand, wet 
from the press. 

He asked Paul whether he ever "did 
anything" in the betting line ? 

Paul replied " No," that he had a tradi- 
tional horror of the turf, as his grandfather 
and great-grandfather had betted away the 
greater part of the Penryn property. 

"Ah," said Fisk, "they were probably 
' nobs' backing their own horses, and such in 
the end were always taken in by the 'knowing 



ACQUITTED. 177 



ones ;' but that's a very different thing to 
my ' little game,' " he added. " Look here, 
sir," he said, pointing to an advertisement 
in the sporting paper, " if you want to make 
a tidy bit of money without risk, here's 
your man. You send him five shillings 
worth of stamps and he'll ensure your 
winning fifty pounds on the ' double 
event.' " 

" Well/"' said Paul, " I know nothing of 
betting, but common sense tells me that 
must be a regular ' do,' a delusion and a 
snare ; for if it were true, you, who are a 
betting man, would surely never spend your 
time drudging as a clerk at Mr. Cottrell's, 
when in a very little while, at this rate, you 
might be a millionaire." 

" Well, just look at this advertisement," 
saidFisk; " this one of Hubert Spark's. 
You'll see what he says." 

Paul read it. 

" Yes," he said, quietly, " I see what 
he says ; but I remember Dr. Johnson's 

VOL. II. 12 



178 ACQUITTED. 



aphorism, ' The essence of an advertisement 
is promise ;' and I see too that Spark himself 
acknowledges the possibility of failure by 
saying if the horse he fixes on does not win, 
half your money will be returned." 

" Well/' said Fisk, " I own I don't think 
much of Spark. I haven't [won anything 
by him, and of the horses he has backed 
for me (according to his vouchers), some 
have been nowhere, and some have been 
1 scratched ;' but here's a man who insists 
on your naming your own horse ;" and he 
pointed to another advertisement. 

"And have you tried that?" said Paul. 

" Yes, I have, and in my little way I've 
spent a matter of ten pounds, but then, if I 
named the wrong horse, misled by the 
prophecies of c Oracle' and others who profess 
to know all the secrets of the stable, that's 
not the agent's fault." 

" But how can you form any opinion 
yourself?" asked Paul. 

" Not very easily," said Fisk, " but now 



ACQUITTED. 179 



I've had a dream that ' Mazeppa' won the 
Oaks, and I've written to this other fellow 
Chester (not Spark) to beg hirn to back her 
for me, and he writes me word that I must 
send him the ' ready.' Now I want to for- 
ward, at once, five shillings worth of stamps, 
if I don't do it at once it will be too late ! 
Brymer hasn't a penny — I know he hasn't. 
Beagle says he hasn't — I know lie has, but 
he wont c fork out.' I shall be paid by 
Cottrell the day after to-morrow ; so if you 
would lend me five shillings till then, I shall 
be really grateful to you. I'm certain 
1 Mazeppa ' '11 win, and it does seem a pity, 
after so many disappointments, to lose such 
a chance !" 

"I am very poor," said Paul, "and lean only 
lend this sum on condition that you really 
will pay it back the day after to-morrow. 
I have no opinion of these Commission 
Agents, and no faith in their integrity ; I 
would rather lend you five shillings for any 
other purpose, but I don't like to refuse ; as 

1 2—2 



180 ACQUITTED. 



you are so very anxious and sanguine about 
it, and so here are two half-crowns ; but re- 
member, I depend on your promise, for I 
cannot afford to lose a penny. I have a 
great object in view, and to accomplish it I 
deny myself everything not strictly neces- 
sary, and never spend anything I can 
avoid." 

Eisk eagerly clutched the two half- 
crowns, saying, " I'll pay you directly I 
receive my weekly salary. Can't I tempt you 
to venture a trifle yourself on ' Mazeppa ?' 
You've all the advantage of my dream." 

" Thank you," said Paul, " I have no faith 
in dreams, and still less in Commission 
Agents ; nay, I have a positive distrust of 
all three." 

" Oh, do venture one half-crown ; think 
of the pleasure of pocketing twenty-five 
pounds ! These men can't well cheat ; for if 
you win, when you send in your claim you 
are to calculate your winnings by Bell's Life ; 
there you will see what the odds were at 



ACQUITTED. 181 



starting, and if you don't understand the 
thing, I'll add it up and send in the claim 
for you. I feel sure she'll win." 

But Paul could not be tempted, and Fisk 
hurried off to obtain the postage stamps and 
enclose them to Chester, the Commission 
Agent, to be invested in a bet on ' Mazeppa.' 

Mr. Cottrell invited Paul to go down to 
" The Larches" with him on Saturday even- 
ing, and to spend Sunday there, returning 
to town with him on Monday. 

Of course it was at Ehoda's suggestion he 
did this ; but Paul, who expected on Sunday 
to see Mary Lynn at church and in Hyde 
Park, and who would not have given up that 
chance for an invitation from an Empress, 
pleaded a prior engagement, and declined, 
with many thanks. 

On the whole, Mr. Cottrell did not regret 
Paul's refusal. 

He had complied with his daughter's 
wish, but as Lord Snowdon was to dine at 
" The Larches" on Sunda}' (having sent Mr. 



182 ACQUITTED. 



Cottrell a magnificent haunch of venison 
from an estate he had in Hertfordshire), Mr. 
Cottrell was glad his lordship would not see 
Paul again at " The Larches" so soon ; and 
he thought, from certain remarks Ehoda had 
made about his lordship, that the peer would 
not gain in her opinion (stout, bald, and 
middle-aged as he was) by being compared 
and contrasted with Paul Penryn. 

It was a very bitter disappointment to 
Ehoda, was Paul's not being willing or able 
to spend Sunday at " The Larches." 

Lord Snowdon was fast becoming in her 
eyes a very great bore, and the idea of 
having him at " The Larches" for the greater 
part of a day as the sole guest, irritated the 
spoilt beauty very much. 

Had Paul been of the party it would have 
been so delightful, so different ! 

" What prior engagement could he have ?" 
she asked herself again and again. " What 
could be his reason for refusing her father s 
invitation ?" 



ACQUITTED. 183 



He had seemed so delighted with his visit, 
and so happy at " The Larches !" 

What people did he know in London ? 

He could not be going out with Fisk, 
Beagle, or Brymer ; he had hardly spoken to 
them at the soiree dansanfe. Poor Ehoda ! 
restless, anxious, and vaguely jealous of she 
knows not what or whom ! Such are the 
clouds that darken the dawn of love ! 

Paul had now been a month in London. 
In spite of all temptations, he had rigidly 
adhered to the resolutions with which he 
had commenced his career. He loved plea- 
sure, as all young men of vivid imagination 
do, and theatres and exhibitions were very 
attractive to one so new to all the amuse- 
ments of London. 

He often heard from Fisk and Brymer, who 
denied themselves nothing, spent all their 
salary, and ran in debt with any tradesmen 
who would trust them, what a " stunning" 
play there was going on at the Hay market, 
what a " screaming" farce at the Adelphi, 



184 ACQUITTED. 



what a charming singer here, what a first- 
rate actress there ! But yet he never entered 
a theatre or a concert-room. 

Mr. Cottrell, who had entire confidence in 
Paul, and in no one else, would often send 
him on business to people having offices or 
warehouses at some miles distance. He 
would say, " Here's your cab-hire, sir" — he 
always addressed Paul as sir, but called the 
other clerks by their names, Fisk, Brymer, 
&c. — " but if you like to walk, you can put 
the money in your pocket." 

Paul always did like to walk. 

Young, strong, and hearty, he would often 
become very hungry in those excursions, but 
he never entered a pastry-cook's shop ; not 
that his youthful appetite was not tempted 
by tarts and puffs, macaroons and queen 
cakes, but that he had determined never to 
spend a penny on pastry, and he never did. 

He would take a crust of bread in his 
pocket, and slake his thirst at one of the 
many fountains erected by a wise benevo- 



ACQUITTED. 185 



lence, and which now abound in London, 
and which are doing so much to keep the 
thirsty wayfarer out of the public-house. 

This was the only refreshment he allowed 
himself. 

Yet he was by nature liberal, fond of good 
things, and by no means of a saving dispo- 
sition ; but he knew that, to obtain his great 
object, he must neglect no opportunity of 
earning and saving every penny he could ; 
and filial love and filial piety, united to an 
indomitable will, led him along the narrow, 
thorn}', uphill path, often sorely tried and 
tempted, but always triumphant. 

Already a money-box, which he had pur- 
chased ll>r his savings, was beginning to feel 
heavy. 

Paul went on answering advertisements 
and sending contributions to papers and 
magazines. 

His father wrote often and very despond- 
ingly, complained of his sleepless nights, 
restless days, low spirits and failing strength •, 



186 ACQUITTED. 



and Paul had resolved, when he had saved 
up a fourth of the thousand pounds, that 
he would let him know what he was 
doing, and try to lead him himself to con- 
fide to his only son that terrible secret with 
which Paul had already become acquainted 
when at home at the Manor House. 

We do not wish to make our readers be- 
lieve that Paul Penryn was "the faultless 
monster that the world ne'er saw;" far from 
it ; he had his defects, but his good qualities 
certainly outweighed them. 

He was rather proud, passionate, and 
jealous; and he suffered a good deal, in con- 
sequence of those feelings, from the idea that, 
though some of the best and oldest blood in 
Cornwall flowed in his veins, his present 
position in life made it impossible for him 
to call openly at Altamount House, as he 
might have done had he not been a clerk in 
a City warehouse. 

As a Penryn of Penryn Manor House he 
was entitled to be welcomed as a visitor by 



ACQUITTED. 187 



Jasper Ardennes. In the olden time the 
houses of Ardennes and Penryn had often 
intermarried. 

At Pencombe the Penryns were on the 
great man's visiting list ; but Paul could not 
call at Altamount House without putting 
his address on his card, and " Thames Street" 
would be too absurd an address to leave at a 
mansion in Grosvenor Square ! 

Then again, he could not conquer a very 
painful feeling of jealousy when he reflected 
that the hours, days, weeks, and months in 
which he so pined for Mary Lynn's sweet 
presence were spent by her in the company 
of the handsome young heir of the House of 
Altamount. 

He believed Mary's assertion that she 
only liked Jasper as a friend, but might not 
friendship ripen into love ? 

Paul had been looking forward with intense 
anxiety to his meeting with Mary Lynn, 
after their first separation, now that their re- 
spective positions were in a manner reversed. 



188 ACQUITTED. 



At Pencombe she was Natt Lynn's 
daughter, her home a fisherman's cottage. 

He was the only son and heir of Penryn 
of Penryn Manor House. 

In London she was the favourite, the pet, 
of Lord Derwent and his son Jasper, living 
in luxury and splendour in Grosvenor Square, 
her dependent position ignored and herself 
treated as a beloved friend, and he was living 
in one room in Thames Street, and was a 
clerk in the counting-house of Colin Cottrell, 
the great drysalter. 

Sometimes the doubt would arise in his 
own mind whether even Mary's generous 
spirit and right judgment would not be 
affected by the enervating luxury of the 
life she now led — whether a Thames Street 
clerk would not seem rather a mean, insig- 
ficant person to one habitually domesticated 
with, and praised and caressed by a nobleman 
and his son. 

The old blood of the Penryns would 
suffuse his face as he asked himself this 



ACQUITTED. 189 



question, but justice to Mary made him 
answer — 

" No ; hers is a nature that luxury cannot 
corrupt nor flattery spoil !" and his heart 
fluttered at the thought of their first meet- 
ing all the same. 

The counting-house at Mr. Cottrell's 
closed on Saturdays at 2 p.m. 

Mr. Cottrell himself was gone down to 
' ; The Larches" somewhat pre-occupied and 
disturbed in mind, for his darling and idol 
— his Ehoda — was not quite well. 

The slightest symptom of illness in his 
only girl — his only child indeed — alarmed 
her doting father. 

Poor Rhoda ; she was fretting in secret 
over Paul's refusal of her father's invi- 
tation to go dowm to " The Larches" with 
him on Saturday to spend Sunday there, 
and to return with Mr. Cottrell on Mon- 
day. 

Beautiful, romantic, and sensitive Rhoda ! 

She was in that excited, restless, almost 



190 ACQUITTED. 



hysterical state, that, with such natures as 
hers, always attends the birth of Love. 

Idolized and beloved as she was by all 
who visited at " The Larches ;" so beautiful 
and so elegant that whenever she appeared 
in the Park or in Kensington Gardens, at 
flower shows, morning concerts, theatres or 
any other public places, all eyes followed 
her, and the " Who is she ?" — so grati- 
fying to female pride — was audible even 
to herself ! It never occurred to her, poor 
child, that the strange, half painful, half 
delightful interest she felt in Paul Penryn 
could be in no degree responded to by 
him. 

Every other man who approached her 
admired her for her singular and jriquante 
beauty, and courted her because she was 
the only child and heiress of the wealthy 
Colin Cottrell. 

Even Lord Snowdon — accustomed as he 
was to all the thorough-bred and brilliant 
beauties of the aristocracy — had, as her 



ACQUITTED. 191 



quick perception soon discovered, fallen in 
love with her at first sight. 

Why, then, should not Paul Penryn re- 
ciprocate the passionate tenderness with 
which her heart overflowed for him ? 

If he yearned for her presence as she 
did for his, why did he refuse that invi- 
tation which she had so cleverly manoeuvred 
to induce her father to give him ? 

" He is proud," at last she said to her- 
self, and she blushed, even in the solitude 
of her own apartment, as the thought 
struck her — " he is proud and poor, and 
he thinks papa will fancy he has interested 
motives and wants to marry an heiress, if 
he comes again to ' The Larches/ He may 
suspect, too, that / shall attribute any 
attention he shows me to the same sordid 
motives ; and this thought keeps him away. 
Oh, how I wish I were poor, then perhaps 
Paul would not slight me thus ! How can I 
do away with an impression which perhaps 
will prevent his ever coming here again ? 



192 ACQUITTED. 



And I see papa wants me to love Lord 
Snowdon, and to many him, and I would 
rather die than many any one but Paul 
Penryn. Oh, I am very, very miserable ; 
I know not what to do, or whither to 
go! 

She planned another visit to the ware- 
house ; but that timid shame and quick 
consciousness which belong to the first 
passion of a young girl's heart, made her 
postpone this excursion from day to day ; 
and as her father became more and more 
silent about Paul and more and more 
eloquent in praise of Lord Snowdon, her 
love for the former grew in proportion with 
her indifference, if not dislike, for the 
latter. 

To Lucv Manners alone did Ehoda reveal 
the secret of the passion and the dis- 
appointment which were already telling on 
her very delicate and excitable constitu- 
tion. 

Meanwhile Paul, entirely absorbed by 



ACQUITTED. 1& 



his love for Mary Lynn and his jealousy 
of Jasper Ardennes, never gave a thought 
to the beautiful girl whose first and fervent 
affections he had so unconsciously, so un- 
willingly won. 

It was Saturday, and Paul was returning 
in a broiling July sun from a very long 
walk which he had taken in order to carry 
out a matter of business which Mr. Cottrell 
had confided to him. 

He was on his way back to Thames 
Street, very hot, very tired, faint with 
hunger and thirst, and singularly depressed 
in spirits. 

As he passed through St. Paul's Church- 
yard he observed that some people were 
goim? in at the northern entrance of the 
Cathedral. 

It was about twenty minutes past four, 
and the exquisite choral service was draw 
ing to a close. 

In spite of his faintness and fatigue, 
Paul felt an irresistible desire to enter that 

VOL. II. 13 



194 ACQUITTED. 



grand and holy edifice, whose services he 
always attended when he could. 

Without all was gaudy bustling, trade, 
noise, sun, heat, dust. Within all was 
grey, quiet, solemn, cool, and holy. 

Everything without disturbed, irritated, or 
depressed him ; within everything soothed, 
elevated, and quieted his heart and mind. 

As all the seats were occupied, Paul did 
not like to disturb the congregation by 
forcing his way into that portion of the 
building where the service was going on. 
He drew back into the shadow of a colossal 
marble statue, and, knowing the service by 
heart as he did, he unseen took part in all 
that remained of it. 

Before the congregation left the Cathe- 
dral, Paul looked up at the noble marble 
statue against which he had been leaning, 
and with a feeling of reverence and awe, 
not unmixed with affection, he recognised 
one of his father's idols, and his own too — 
Dr. Samuel Johnson. 



ACQUITTED. 191 



The statue was literally coated with dust, 
and there seemed to Paul's good taste and 
judgment something absurd and theatrical 
in the Eoman costume in which the sculp- 
tor had arrayed that true-born Englishman 
— the author of " Basselas." 

How much rather would Paul have seen 
the " colossus of literature" in the full- 
bottomed wig and quaint costume ; — old- 
fashioned long-backed coat, large buttoned 
and flapped, knee-breeches and buckled 
shoes, to which his great mind and great 
heart gave a dignity and even a charm. 

How, as the young man gazed with 
moistened eyes at the massive brow, the 
deep lines of thought and the intense 
melancholy of that grand rugged face, came 
back on his memory the trials and the des- 
titution of his youth, the firm struggles of 
his manhood, and that sad tale of dis- 
appointed affection and blighted hope of 
which the scene was laid at Streatham, and 
of which the heroine was Mrs. Thrale. 

13—2 



196 ACQUITTED. 



As Paul reverently wiped with his 
pocket-handkerchief the dust from the 
great man's feet, he thought uf that anec- 
dote of his life in which, when a student ai 
Oxford, his fellow collegians, having noted, 
perhaps ridiculed, the beggarly state of his 
chaussure, had procured and placed a new 
pair of shoes at his door. 

He remembered that Johnson's pride 
forbade him to avail himself of the offering 
— whether made in kindness or in ridicule 
none could tell — and, with a flush of 
triumph, Paul thought that while those 
who had placed those shoes at the door of 
this sublime writer, and had thus wounded 
the sensitive feelings inseparable from 
genius, are lying in their narrow graves 
utterly forgotten, Samuel Johnson is en- 
shrined, not only in St. Paul's, but in the 
heart and memory of all who have ever 
read " Rasselas," wept over " The Lives of 
the Poets," dwelt delighted on the wit, 
humour, and brilliant antitheses of the 



ACQUITTED. 197 



" Rambler" and the " Tatler," or marvelled 
at that stupendous work of one mind — his 
Dictionary. 

Sadly and slowly Paul turned away, now 
mourning over the miseries of Johnson's 
early life, now rejoicing in the thought of 
those twenty years of learned leisure, en- 
chanting popularity, and elegant luxury 
which he had enjoyed at Streatham through 
the munificent appreciation of the generous 
Thrale ! 

And a^ain Paul's vouns: heart sank as 
he remembered that, after those twenty 
years of such felicity — owing, as Johnson 
himself said, " to such a friend as no man 
could meet with twice in his life" — he was 
driven by the caprice of the woman he had 
so loved and honoured, and by her prefe- 
rence of an Italian singer, back to the dull 
house in Bolt Court, behind Fleet Street — 
away from the noble library he had orga- 
nized and gloried in for his Mecaenas — 
away from the pure air, the sunny gar- 



198 ACQUITTED. 



dens, the style, the comfort, the luxury, 
and the worship (for at Mr. Thrale's Dr. 
Johnson was worshipped as an idol) — back 
to brood in dull, smoky London, on the 
"Vanity of human wishes," the emptiness 
of the friendship he had so relied on, and 
thus with nothing to counteract, and every- 
thing to foster that melancholy which was 
constitutional with him, to pine and die ! 

Saddened by the thoughts which had 
been awakened in his mind by Dr. John- 
son's monument, Paul passed on to that of 
our immortal Nelson. 

Another great conqueror, and another 
good man ; we say another conqueror, for 
Dr. Johnson was a great conqueror, though 
his were bloodless victories. But what con- 
quests over himself — over the languor of 
indisposition, the natural sloth and inac- 
tivity of his nature — over his strong pas- 
sions, and over his literary opponents, did 
lie not obtain ? 

As Paul read the inscription on the pe- 



ACQUITTED. 199 



destal of Nelson's monument, and remem- 
bered that the great naval hero had died in 
the arms of Victory, and that Dr. Johnson 
had slowly pined away of that complication 
of diseases which grief, mortification, and 
disappointment engenders, he thought — for 
at his age we all underrate fears and dan- 
gers, and overrate glory and success — how 
much he should have preferred the glorious 
end of Nelson to the gradual decay of Dr. 
Johnson's strong frame. 

He read the names of " Copenhagen," 
" Nile," " Trafalgar," and his young heart 
beat high with patriot pride as he thought 
of the victories those names represented. 

He remembered the glorious boyhood of 
that young " Horatio," who had asked 
" What is Fear?" and whose after-life proved 
that he had never solved the question, or 
known the feeling. And then, with that 
sympathy with love which all who love 
must feel, and which makes Claude Melnotte 
say to Pauline, " We'll have no friends that 



200 ACQUITTED. 



are not lovers !" he dwelt on the love story 
of Nelson's life. 

He remembered how one at whose name 
nations trembled and grew pale, was the 
slave of that rare auburn beauty, Emma, 
Lady Hamilton, and how he had bequeathed 
her future and her fortunes to the nation 
he had served so well, and which he died 
to save, but which in return had left the 
idol of his heart uncared for and unpro- 
vided for ! 

" How tragic, in reality, is the fate of all 
great men !" thought Paul ; and yet how 
could a nation that prides itself on moral 
purity publicly recognise and reward such 
a tie as that wdiich bound the wedded 
Nelson to that radiant Anadyomene, Lady 
Hamilton ? 

Another, and a greater hero still, next 
claimed Paul's attention; for the next statue 
before which he stood was that of John 
Howard, the philanthropist of the last cen- 
tury. 



ACQUITTED. 201 



How many " forlorn hopes" had Howard 
led, when his foes were Tyranny, Ignorance, 
Cruelty, and Avarice ? 

How often had he braved Heath in 
all its most ghastly forms, while he trained 
the whole civilized world to visit the 
prisons and the hospitals, which were 
then the strongholds of fever and the 
plague ! 

" He died in battle, and he lives in fame;" 
not in battle with armed men on an open 
plain, but in battle with those subtle 
foes Disease and Death : in endeavouring: 
to trace out, to root out the plague, and 
in the attempt to find a remedy for that 
scourge, he himself fell a victim to that 
malady at Cherson, in Eussian Tartary. 

He died at his post, in the prime of 
life and at the height of usefulness and 
fame. 

Paul passed from the monument of this 
Christian hero with a sigh of affectionate 
reverence, and found himself in front of the 



102 ACQUITTED. 



statue of " Reginald Heber, Lord Bishop of 
Calcutta," 

Paul's mother had been an ardent admirer 
of Bishop Heber, both as a man and a 
poet. 

At that mother's knees he had learnt to 
lisp those exquisite hymns, so lucid that child- 
hood can understand and love them, and so 
deep and orthodox that the Christian Sage 
repeats them to himself on his death-bed. 

Paul had often heard his mother tell what 
she had learnt from personal friends of Bishop 
Heber's, how much he was beloved and 
honoured in England, and what prospects 
of advancement and wealth at home he had 
resigned in order to become the chief mis- 
sionary of Christianity in the East. 

Paul had heard of his touching humility, 
and of the rare union of fervid zeal and 
gentlest tolerance, of poetical power and 
solid judgment, for which he was remark- 
able. 

He had read the records of that noble 



ACQUITTED. 203 



life — of his fearless journey all over India 
to offer the Cross to the benighted slaves of 
superstition and of false gods — of the in- 
fluence of his gentle and endearing manners, 
and the example of his spotless life ; and 
how he was summoned, while toiling in the 
tropical noonday sun, to receive the reward 
of his labours ! 

" Thou art gone to the grave, but we will not deplore thee, 

Since God was thy ransom, thy guardian, and guide. 

He gave thee, He took thee, and soon will restore thee, 

"Where death has no sting, for the Saviour has died." 

Paul was saying those lines to himself as 
he brushed away a tear, for with the verses 
came the thought of his beloved, unforgotten 
mother, from whose dear lips he had learnt 
them — when the Past, and all its glorious 
monuments and memories faded away like 
dissolving views, the fragrance of wood- 
violets was borne on the cool cloistered air, 
and with it came entrancing visions of pas- 
sionate love, hope, joy, beauty, and Man- 
Lynn . 



204 ACQUITTED. 



He breathed the scent she loved, and 
which she always wore ! 

She had loved it and worn it from the 
time when Paul — then a mere boy — would 
search all the woods of Pencombe in order 
to give Mary a bunch of her favourite white 
wood-violets. 

Young Jasper, excessively fond of per- 
fumes, having discovered Mary's passion for 
this peculiar scent, had procured her the 
permanent enjoyment of its delights at all 
seasons, by giving her a box full of bottles of 
Breiclenbach's extract of white wood-violets. 

And now everything Mary wore w^as redo- 
lent of this delightful perfume. 

A perfume is as potent as an agent of the 
memory, of the senses and the passions, as is 
a familiar strain of music or any object that 
appeals to the mind through the medium of 
the eye — a tree, a flower, a ribbon, a ruin, 
a colour, or a glance ! 

Paul grew cold and pale with intense 
emotion. 



ACQUITTED. 205 



He was deephy, passionately in love, and 
from the peculiar fragrance with which the 
air was laden, he felt that Mary Lynn was 
near. 

The next moment their eyes and hands 
had met. 

She was there ! and with her were Lord 
Derwent, Jasper Ardennes, and her little 
pupils. 

Jasper Ardennes' love for Mary Lynn 
was not like Paul's, a jealous passion ; it was 
a generous affection, a true and noble friend- 
ship, full of confidence and tenderness, and 
perfectly unselfish. 

He had discovered — for he w r as very quick 
in his perceptions — how great an interest 
Mary felt in Paul Penryn. 

She had owned to Jasper that he had 
taught her to read and write, and had been 
a true friend to her from her infancy. 

The result of this confession was to make 
Jasper very friendly to Paul Penryn. 

And in this we see the superiority which 



206 ACQUITTED. 



Love as an affection possesses over Love 
as passion. 

Paul Penryn was perhaps of a nobler na- 
ture than Jasper Ardennes. He was capable 
of greater sacrifices, greater fortitude, greater 
self-denial, and greater endurance and reso- 
lution ; but his love was that involuntary, 
ardent, and alas ! selfish passion which has 
caused so many tragedies, and which seldom 
pauses to consider what is best for the hap- 
piness and peace of its object. 

Time would, perhaps, if Mary Lynn be- 
came his wife, tone clown Paul's feeling for 
her into one resembling that which made 
the delight and solace of Jasper's life ; but 
never until Mary is all his own can Paul's 
passion for her undergo this metamor- 
phosis. 

Jasper acknowledged PauPs somewhat 
formal bow by holding out his hand to him, 
and then, going up to his father, who was 
gazing at the monument of Sir Christopher 
Wren, the great architect of St. Paul's and 



ACQUITTED. 207 



of the City, and the first ever erected in the 
Cathedral, he whispered a request, the result 
of which was, that Lord Derwent came for- 
ward, shook hands with Paul, as the son 
of an old country neighbour, and invited 
him to go back with them to dinner in 
Grosvenor Square. 

" I want to look at some more of these 
noble monuments, and I wish Jasper and 
Miss Lynn to see that of an ancestor of 
mine, in the south transept ; will you ac- 
company us, or, if you wish to go home first, 
will you tell me where we shall call for 
you?" he said, "and then we will drive 
home." 

Paul had intended to decline the invita- 
tion, but an imploring glance from Mary's 
eloquent eyes compelled him to accept. Still, 
with all the habits and feeliugs of a gentle- 
man about him, he could not bear to drive 
in company with ladies, hot, dusty, and 
in his morning attire. 

He thanked Lord Derwent for his invi- 



208 ACQUITTED. 



tation, and said that if they could give him 
an hour, by the end of that time he would 
rejoin them in the north transept. 

" We shall want a full hour for all we 
have to see," said Lord Derwent ; " so you 
will find us before the monument of Lord 
Bodney." 

" Be punctual," said Mary Lynn, in a 
low voice, as Paul passed her. 

She was standing a little apart from the 
rest of her party, and added; while blushes 
suffused her lovely face, " Oh, Mr. Paul, I 
have so longed to see you again !" 

As these words fell on Paul's ear, accom- 
panied as they were by looks of unutterable 
love, the demon Jealousy fled from Paul's 
heart, the restraint of his manners and the 
coldness of his looks vanished. 

" I will soon return, dear Mary," he whis- 
pered; and with a wild flutter of joy at his 
heart he hurried away to his poor room in 
Thames Street to dress for a dinner at a 
nobleman's in Grosvenor Square ! 



ACQUITTED. 209 



As Paul passed through Cheapside he was 
sorely tempted by the beautiful ties, dress- 
shirts, and evening boots which were dis- 
played in the shops. His own things were 
rather the worse for wear. He wished to look 
his best in Mary's eyes, and Lord Derwent 
and Jasper Ardennes were arrayed in the 
best and most fashionable manner ; but Paul 
calculated that the things he so coveted 
would take a pound at least, from the fund 
dedicated in his own heart to his father, and 
he resisted the great temptation. 

He was soon dressed, and was first at the 
trysting place. 

Soon after, Lord Derwent led the way to the 
entrance at which the carriage stood. Paul 
was talking earnestly to Mary Lynn while 
Lord Derwent was giving some directions to 
the coachman, when, suddenly raising his 
eyes, he saw a brougham passing by, and in it 
was Ehoda Cottrell. Her eyes were fixed on 
him and on Mary Lynn, and the pallor of 
death was on her beautiful face. 

VOL. II. 14 



210 ACQUITTED. 



Paul bowed to Rhoda, who returned the 
salutation and blushed as she did so. 

Poor Rhoda ! she had taken a sudden 
resolution. She had persuaded herself that 
her father would not set off till five ; and 
she fancied she wanted many things, and 
that she would drive into town, go to the 
warehouse, and get her father to go shop- 
ping with her before returning to "The 
Larches." 

She said to herself that this was her 
motive for going to the warehouse, but all 
who love or have loved can guess what wild 
hope took the poor passionate girl there ; 
and so on her way she sees an elegant 
equipage, with an Earl's coronet on the 
panels and powdered servants in atten- 
dance, and Paul, looking down into the 
beautiful eyes of a girl whose smile and 
blush betrayed her heart. 

The brougham passed on. Ehoda leaned 
back in the carriage, buried her face in her 
hands, and burst into a passion of tears and 
sobs. 



ACQUITTED. 211 



" Now I know why he cares not to come 
to ' The Larches,' " she moaned. " Now I 
know why he does not — cannot love me ! 
How beautiful — how more than beautiful 
she is, and what love was in the eyes she 
raised to his ! How tenderly he gazed upon 
her — how happy they seemed ! He scarcely 
recognised me ! and yet I could gladly die 
for him ! that I were at rest for ever I" 

As Bhoda's brougham passed through 
Cheapside the poor girl, absorbed by love 
and jealous}^, did not recognise, nay, she 
did not even perceive, two persons who took 
off their hats and smiled and coloured up 
at her approach. 

These two were Brymer and Fisk, who 
had just emerged from the coffee-house 
where they had dined together. 

"Why, Brymer," cried Fisk, as he saw 
the brougham approaching, " confound it 
if that isn't Bhoda ! What a bore that I 
haven't got my new blue coat and double- 
breasted white waistcoat on !" 

14—2 



212 ACQUITTED. 



" Yes/' said Brymer, " and what a bore 
that I haven't my new striped trousers 
on ; they are c stunners !' ' 

" I dare say she's going to the warehouse 
in the hope of seeing me/' said Fisk, " and 
perhaps to beg the Gov'ner to invite me to 
dine at ' The Larches' to-morrow." 

" I fancy she'd be better pleased with 
my company than yours, old boy," said 
Brymer. 

" Folly," said Fisk, sharply ; " I've many 
good reasons for thinking she's fond of 
me ! 

"None," said Brymer, "but your own 
vanity." 

" Well, time will show," cried Fisk ; " I 
wont quarrel with you to-day ; I'm in too 
good spirits at my luck. My horse, or 
rather the horse I backed, has won. As I 
told you just now, I put five shillings on 
' Mazeppa.' He's won, and I think I've 
netted fifty pounds if I've netted a shilling. 
I shall ask Penryn, you, and the rest of the 



ACQUITTED. 213 



fellows to a spread, and I'll have half a 
dozen of champagne to celebrate my first 
slice of luck." 

"Well, I'm your man; but let's slip 
back to the office to speak to Ehoda and find 
out what she's really after. It can't be 
Penryn, for I know he was invited and 
refused. I fancy he's got a sweetheart, and 
he's just the sort of chap to be constant — 
as steady as old Time." 

They returned to the office and ap- 
proached the door of the brougham while 
Ehoda was speaking to a man whose duty 
it was to lock up the premises. 

There was no smile on Ehoda's face, as 
they came forward, all bows and smirks, to 
offer their services, and to inquire what was 
her pleasure. 

She replied that she had expected to find 
her father still at the office, but that, as he 
was gone, she had no business there. Then 
saying to the footman — " Home as soon as 
possible !" she bowed stiffly to Fisk and 



2U ACQUITTED. 



Brymer, and, leaning hack in the carriage, 
was soon home away from their admiring 
gaze. 

"There's a sell," said Fisk. "She 
wouldn't have given me the cold shonlder 
if I'd had my new bine coat and double- 
breasted white waistcoat on ; hnt never 
mind, I've won fifty pounds, so that's some 
consolation." 



ACQUITTED. 215 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Again I seem to see thee lie 

Upon that bed of pain and strife — 

For those who loved thee fraught with death 
For thee, with life of life." 

Charles Kent. 




LT HOUGH Paul could not quite 
subdue a certain vague jealousy 
when he saw how very attentive 
Mary Lynn was to Jasper Ardennes, yet 
the openness of those attentions, and the 
frankness of her manner, took from them 
much that might else have alarmed and 
disturbed him. 

Jasper was very tired after his long visit 
to St. Paul's, and it was Mary Lynn's hand 
that led him to a sofa, and placed the pillows 
under his head. It was Mary who adminis- 
tered his medicine out of a graduated bottle, 



216 ACQUITTED. 



and who chafed his temples with eau-de- 
Cologne, and sat down by his side to fan him. 

As she did so, Paul could not observe 
without pity, now that the hectic flush of 
excitement was gone from his cheek — how 
pallid and hollow it was — and what dark 
violet shadows surrounded his eyes. 

As Jasper lay back on the sofa, and 
closed his eyes, Paul thought he looked 
very much as if his gentle spirit had fled, and 
he felt ashamed of the bitter feelings he had 
cherished towards one whose brief career he 
felt certain was drawing to a close, and who, 
two years younger than himself, was de- 
barred from ail those manly pleasures and 
pursuits which require health and strength. 

It was with feelings of deep pity that 
Paul perceived, when Jasper raised his long, 
thin hand to unbutton his waistcoat — for he 
was breathing with difficulty — that he wore 
a chest protector, made of hare- skin; and, 
though the heat was very great, he heard 
Lord Derwent say to Mary Lynn, that he 



ACQUITTED. 217 



hoped Jasper would never again commit 
the imprudence of leaving off' his flannel 
waistcoat ! 

Added to this, young Jasper's manner to 
Paul was so very kind and cordial ; he 
seemed so anxious — of course for Mary's 
sake — to make Paul feel himself at home, 
and treated him so entirely as an equal, that 
Paul found his animosity and jealousy melt- 
ing away into affectionate sympathy and 
confiding friendship. 

As for Lord Derwent, he seemed entirely 
engrossed by anxiety about his only son. 

The incessant watch which the father 
kept over every look and gesture of Jasper's 
was, in reality, very irksome and irritating 
to that sensitive and excitable youth, but 
with the greatest amiability and self-control 
he suppressed all evidence of the annoyance 
he felt ; and Paul, who appreciated the pa- 
tient endurance, which he felt he could 
not, under similar circumstances, have 
evinced, found respect and admiration 



218 ACQUITTED. 

strengthening the affectionate interest he 
had already conceived for Jasper Ardennes. 

Paul was much cheered when he found 
that Jasper's appetite at dinner exceeded his 
own. 

Alas ! he did not know that a hearty, and 
in some cases a great appetite, is a symptom 
of that dreadful disease which always selects 
the best, the most beautiful, and the most 
gifted as its victims ! 

Not having the slightest idea that there 
could be such a thing as a morbid craving 
for food — the result of the exhaustion caused 
by consumption — Paul felt much distressed 
and annoyed when he heard Lord Berwent 
now imploring Jasper not to touch this 
dish, now positively forbidding him to par- 
take of that, and again advising him to eat 
very sparingly of a third. 

Unluckily, the very comestibles which his 
father denounced, were those for which poor 
Jasper had a morbid craving. 

One of these forbidden dishes was a lob- 



ACQUITTED. 219 



ster salad. Jasper had helped himself to 
this dish rather freely when one of the 
footmen brought it round to him. It was 
his favourite dish ; but Lord Derwent no 
sooner saw his son eating of it with evident 
relish, than, in spite of the habitual reserve 
and dignity of his manners, he exclaimed — 

" Jasper ! for heaven's sake don't touch 

that lobster salad ! Dr. H insisted on 

your never touching lobster, and said raw 
vegetables were poison to you." 

Jasper laid down his fork, and the foot- 
man removed his plate. 

The same painful scene had occurred with 
regard to some young potatoes, of which 
Jasper was very fond. 

Paul could not understand the earnest- 
ness of Mary Lynn's entreaty to Jasper not 
to touch the young potatoes. He had 
always seen the friends of invalids doing all 
in their power to induce the patient to eat ; 
but then he had never before seen any one 
afflicted with the fell disease which had re- 



220 ACQUITTED. 



duced poor Jasper, in a few months, from a 
fine, healthy-looking youth to a semi-trans- 
parent shadow. 

During and after dinner Jasper Ardennes, 
flushed and excited, looked much better, and 
was in high spirits. 

The bright colour in his cheeks and the 
brilliancy of his fine eyes gave him an al- 
most unearthly beauty, and as Paul looked 
at that angelic face the old restlessness of 
jealousy made him exaggerate Jasper's ad- 
vantages and underrate his own. 

" I must appear coarse and common- 
place in Mary's eyes compared to Jasper 
Ardennes," he said to himself, "and how 
she watches his countenance and anticipates 
his wishes ! He, the son of a lord ! and I 
a clerk in a counting-house in Thames 
Street." 

After dinner, and when they had adjourned 
to the spacious drawing rooms, Mary was 
asked to sing and play, and Jasper sate down 
beside her. 



ACQUITTED. 221 



Lord Derwent took this opportunity of 
beckoning Paul to follow him into the back 
drawing-room. 

" I hope. Mr. Paul Penryn," said his 
lordship, " we shall often have the pleasure 
of seeing you here. My son evidently finds 
great pleasure in your society, and to gratify 
him is one of the great objects of my life ; 
but you will, I am sure, not take amiss a 

request I am going to make. Dr. H 

has insisted on Jasper's retiring at nine 
o'clock, and it would be very mortifying to 
him, sensitive as he is, were he obliged to 
go to bed, leaving you, his guest, behind 
him here. Would you then, my dear sir, to 
oblige me and to avert the possibility of 
Jasper's wishing to infringe the doctor's 
laws, kindly invent some excuse for leaving 
us a little before nine. This is a favour I 
could not ask of every one, but you I am 
certain will not misconstrue it. The son of 
my father's old friend, Penryn of Penryn, 
must be a perfect gentleman, and gentle- 



ACQUITTED. 



men do not take offence where none can be 
meant/' 

Panl entered into the anxions father's 
views; he understood his anxiety, and he 
cordially acquiesced in his request. 

After singing two duets with Mary Lynn 
he looked at his watch, and perceiving that 
it wanted ten minutes of nine, he started up, 
said he was obliged to take his leave, and, 
though Jasper pressed him to stay, he per- 
sisted in his assurance that he must depart 
at once. 

Poor Jasper was always better at night 
than by day, and his passiou for music made 
him very unwilling to break up the party. 
Paul had a fine voice and good ear, his 
singing was very delightful, and his voice 
and Mary's went well together. 

" Ah," said Jasper, " a year ago I was a 
fine singer myself. I had a natural tenor, and 

had been taught by Signor M . Now 

Dr. H forbids my ever trying my voice, 

and even if he allowed me to sing, I have 



ACQUITTED. 



not a <*ood note left : this teasing cough 
and hoarseness have made me croak like 
a raven ; but I shall take a great delight 
in listening to good music, and I do wish, 
Mr. Penryn, you would sing that duet, ' Tu 
tion sal? once more with Mary ! do, to 
oblige me !" 

" Gladly," said Paul, " the next time I 
visit you, but now duty compels me to 
hurry away, and so I must say ' good 
night.' ' 

Paul then took his leave. 

On the landing, as he went downstairs, 
he met Lord Derwent, who for the first time 
shook him by the hand. " Thank you, 
Penryn," he said. " You have shown great 
tact, kindness, and resolution ; I shall be 
glad to see you here whenever you can come 
to us. What do you think of my poor 
boy's state? (This question the unhappy 

father put to every one.) Dr. H , I 

fear, has a bad opinion of him, but I think 
the medicine he is giving him quiets the 



224 ACQUITTED. 



cough a little, and Mary and T both fancy 
he has gained a little flesh." 

Paul's eyes grew moist. What a delusive 
hope must that be, which could even ima- 
gine that so attenuated a form had gained a 
little flesh ! 

" I think, my lord," said Paul, " that 
Mr. Ardennes, having such good spirits and 
such an excellent appetite, proves that he 
cannot have anything very serious the 
matter with him." 

"Ah!" groaned the father," Dr. H 

says the appetite and the spirits are often 
very good in such cases ;" he shook hands 
with Paul once more, and hurried into his 
own study, where he buried his face in his 
handkerchief and remained for some time 
writhing with the agony and the dark fore- 
bodings of his spirits. 

Byron has said, " None are all evil," and 
Lord Derwent was a proof of the truth of 
the assertion. 

We know how cruel, heartless, and incon- 



ACQUITTED. 225 



stant had been his conduct to poor Minna — 
we know that he was a remorseless, unprin- 
cipled, and desperate man. 

Regardless about the means he used to re- 
move an obstacle from his path, lowering 
himself to the level of so coarse a ruffian as 
Dan Devrill to accomplish his base designs, 
and yet there was one human, one sublime 
feeling in his black heart — his love for his 
son Jasper. 

It seemed as if Providence intended 
through this love to bring this wicked man 
to punishment and to repentance ; for no 
one with any experience could see Jasper 
Ardennes and not perceive that he was 
doomed. 

Paul walked home ; it was a lovely moon- 
light night, and the air was exquisitely fresh 
and balmy. 

There is something very softening and 
spiritualizing to the heart and mind of youth, 
in the light of the moon. 

Paul, as he walked along the almost de- 
vol. 11. 15 



226 ACQUITTED. 



serted streets, thought with intense sym- 
pathy of poor Jasper Ardennes and his 
devoted father — of his own beloved and 
only parent, so lonely, so anxious, so weighed 
down by shame, remorse, and dread of the 
consequences of that one false step into which 
he had been coaxed, cajoled, and hurried by 
Sligo Downy. And then he thought with 
pride and pleasure of the little hoard which 
was rapidly increasing through his industry 
and self-denial, and of his hopes of adding to 
it through a tale and a poem he had sent to a 
popular magazine. From these thoughts 
his mind naturally wandered on to love and 
Mary Lynn, and, absorbed by a delicious 
reverie, he arrived in Thames Street he 
knew not how, and marvelled to find him- 
self at Mrs. Collins's door. 



ACQUITTED. 227 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Heaven from all mortals hides this book of fate." 

Pope. 



% 



AUL found three notes on his table. 

One was from Fisk. 
It was written on office paper, and was 
in a mercantile hand, with many flourishes. 
It ran as follows : — 

" Dear Penryn, — Wish me joy ! Mazeppa 
has won ! I hacked him for 5/., as you 
know, and thanks to you, of course, I have 
won 50/. 

" There's a go, old boy ! There's a toucher 
for you, my bird ! A few more such slices of 
luck, and I say adieu to my high stool and 

low estate, and cut old C for ever and 

a day ! 

15—2 



228 ACQUITTED. 



" All our fellows are to sup with me on 
Monday at my lodgings, that is, if Mon- 
day suits you ; if not, name the day. I 
should have fixed on Sunday, only I know 
you're particular, and I feared you'd think 
me a heathen. 

" At any rate I depend on your company 
on Monday at eight p.m. I hope we shall 
make a night of it. 

" Yours truly and gratefully, 

"G.Fisk." 



The next letter Paul took up was from 
B. B., whose advertisement Paul had an- 
swered a month before. 

B. B. w r as the young gentleman who had 
advertised for a competent person to help 
him to get up his lessons for his tutor. 

He wanted Paul twice a week, from eight 
till ten in the evening, and for this help the 
remuneration was to be half a guinea 
weekly. 

B. B., who now gave his real name and 



ACQUITTED. 229 



address, was a youth preparing for matri- 
culation at Oxford, and Paul felt fully com- 
petent to undertake all that was required. 

The only difficulty lay in the fact that 
references were required. 

Paul felt much puzzled. He did not like 
to mention the subject to Mr. Cottrell. 
Still less did he tolerate the idea of applying 
to any one at Pencombe, else Mr. Trelawny 
would have been glad to oblige him. 

Paul thought of Lord Derwent, but his 
pride revolted at the idea of asking a favour 
from Mary's patron ; and at last he decided 
on stating the case to Mr. Cottrell, and on 
asking him to be his reference. 

" It never rains but it pours," says the old 
adage, and Paul thought the proverb was 
proved true, when he found that the third 
letter was from X. Y. Z., the invalid gentle- 
man who required some one to read to him 
for an hour and a half every evening. This 
letter ran as follows : — 



230 ACQUITTED. 



" Sir, — As I had five hundred replies to 
my advertisement, yours escaped my notice, 
but as the gentleman I had engaged for a 
month did not suit me (on further acquain- 
tance), I looked carefully over the answers I 
had received once more, and I was struck 
with the modesty and elegance of your 
letter. If you are still disengaged I shall 
be glad to see you to-morrow evening at 
eight o'clock. The name of Penryn is veiy 
familiar to me, as that of an old college friend. 
Should you be related to Paul Penryn, of 
Oriel College, and of Pencombe, Cornwall, 
I shall require no reference, and shall be 
certain of finding in you a scholar and a 
gentleman. 

"I am, sir, 

" Your obedient servant, 
"Hamilton Pemberton\" 

" How strange ! and how fortunate ! " 
thought Paul. " Often have I heard my 
dear father speak of Hamilton Pemberton as 



ACQUITTED. 231 



a fine scholar and a generous-hearted gentle- 
man of the old school, but as the most 
irascible of men ; none but my father, who 
never quarrelled with any one, could steer 
clear of the most furious dissensions with 
'Effervescing Perry,' as he was called. I 
hope time has cooled his temper, else, as I 
have not my • father's patience, my engage- 
ment may not last as long even as that of 
my predecessor." 

It was a great comfort to Paul to think 
that by the aid of these two engagements 
he should probably double his weekly in- 
come. 

Already the little tin box he had pur- 
chased, and in which he locked up every 
penny he was not compelled to spend on the 
necessaries and decencies of life, was begin- 
ning to feel heavy. 

Any one who had seen Paul, when in the 
solitude of his own chamber he counted over 
every sovereign, half sovereign, half crown, 
florin, shilling, sixpence, and copper he had 



232 ACQUITTED. 



saved by his resolute self-denial, would have 
thought him a youthful Elwes or a Daniel 
Dancer. 

His cheeks glowed, his eyes dilated, his 
breast heaved, as he thought of his poor 
father saved from public disgrace and 
private anguish. Of a foul blot washed 
away from the honour of his family before 
its existence was known to any one but his 
father and himself! 

What selfish Sybarite, spending large 
sums on his own pleasures, can experience 
the delight that Paul felt as his hoard 
became heavier and heavier every week. 
"Aide foi et je falderal" is an adage the 
truth of which is acknowledged by all who 
have struggled against an adverse fate. 

By intrepidity, industry of the most un- 
tiring nature, humility which made Paul 
resolve to accept of any honest means of 
earning money, and self-denial which no 
temptation could induce him to break 
through, he saw, or fancied he saw, the 



ACQUITTED. 



goal won in three or four years — his father 
saved, and himself earning an income which 
would enable him to offer Mary Lynn a 
home. 

# * $ $ $ * 

Mr. Cottrell was rather surprised when 
Paul (somewhat nervously at first) opened 
the subject of the referenceship, and asked 
his employer to allow him to refer to him. 

" Why, I should have thought, sir," said 
Mr. Cottrell, in his broad Cornish accent, 
" you'd have had enough of hard work by the 
time you got away from this ! I don't hold 
with all play and no work, which is what 
Fisk and Brymer are always after ; but all 
work and no play is worse still, for the brain 
wants rest, sir, and to overwork the brain is 
about the most dangerous sort of overwork 
there is." 

" But this, sir," said Paul, earnestly, " will 
not be exactly work, it will compel me to 
take a good long walk (with an object) twice 
a week ; it will help me to keep up my 



!34 ACQUITTED. 



classics, and the reading with a youth pre- 
paring for matriculation will be a very small 
and easy matter for one who was prepared 
(had the chances of life allowed of it) to 
compete for an open scholarship at Oxford." 

" But why not spend your evenings in re- 
creation like others of your age?" said Mr. 
Cottrell. " No one hates dissipation more 
than I do, and no lad ever worked harder 
than I did in my young time ; but I was 
uncommon fond of a good play, and seldom 
let a week pass without seeing John Kemble 
and Mrs. Siddons ; and I used to treat my- 
self to Vauxhall, and a Sunday at Greenwich 
now and then. How is it you never go 
anywhere? My old friend's son cannot be 
a miser, and you are earning a good wage, 
sir. 

"Yes," said Paul, colouring, "but I 
have a great object in view in making a 
certain sum in a certain time, sir ; to this 
object I gladly sacrifice ease and pleasure — 
in fact, till I have done what I have set 



ACQUITTED. 



myself to do, I can have neither ease nor 
pleasure save in earning money." 

" Ah," said Mr. Cottrell, smiling, " some 
pretty Cornish lass in the case, perhaps ?" 

" No, sir," said Paul, " I am not so ro- 
mantic ; but although the object of my 
heart must ever be a secret, I may say so 
much as this, that I feel sure were I at 
liberty to reveal it to you, it is one in which 
you would warmly sympathize." 

" I do not doubt it, sir ; and you may 
refer this gentleman to me. I honour any 
man who can sacrifice the present to the 
future ; and I wish you every success, sir. 
I wish my old friend your father had acted 
through life on your principle, sir ; I fancy 
you in that case would not be a poor clerk, 
but a rich squire. And now to business ; 
we've wasted too much time already, sir, 
and there's a great deal of work to be got 
through to-day, foreign correspondence 
especially." 



236 ACQUITTED. 



CHAPTER XV. 

The sons of Belial flown 
With insolence and wine. 1 



Hilton. 




N the evening of the day upon which 
Mr. Cottrell consented to act as 
Paul's reference, Fisk's entertain- 
ment was to take place. 

He was in high spirits all day, and when- 
ever he could catch Paul's eye, he winked 
and touched a flimsy hit of paper in his 
waistcoat pocket, a sort of Circular, sent to 
all his customers hy the Commission Agent 
for betting. 

Paul did not like the style or conversa- 
tion, manner or morals of Fisk, Brymer, 
Beagle, or the other clerks, but he thought 
it wouhl be unkind and disdainful to refuse 



ACQUITTED. 237 



the invitation to join in celebrating the 
" slice of good kick " which his loan had 
been the means of securing to Fisk, and 
having promised to join the party he re- 
solved to make the best of it, and to do his 
utmost to make it go off well. 

Fisk lodged in Frederick's Place, Old 
Jewry. He had a bedroom on the second- 
floor back, and the occasional use of the 
front room (as a sitting-room) when it was 
unlet. Fisk was deeply in debt to his land- 
lady, who at one time had supplied him with 
breakfast and tea, but finding it impossible 
to get paid, she had resolved on not furnish- 
ing him with anything, and had given him 
notice to quit his apartments at the end of 
a month. When, however, Fisk informed 
the mercenary, but not ill-natured woman 
that he had won fifty pounds, which would 
be paid two or three days later, and satisfied 
her natural doubts, by showing her the 
sporting papers, her feelings towards her 
lodger underwent a singular change. 



38 ACQUITTED. 



She remarked that she had always main- 
tained that Mr. Fisk was a gentleman, that 
she had never really meant to give him 
notice to quit, only, that having her rent to 
pay, a large hill to meet, and a small account 
to make up, and being a lone, unprotected 
female, and nothing but her apartments to 
look to, and he owing her fifteen pounds 
ten shillings and odd, she had given him 
that 'hit about suiting hisself elsewhere, 
just to remind him that she couldn't give 
such very long credit, which it wasn't to be 
expected of a lone woman living on her 
furniture. She added, that she wished by- 
gones to be bygones, and wound up with a 
few tears to the memory of Mr. Blore, her 
husband, who was gone, she 'oped, to a 
better spear, although he had left her alone 
in a walley of tears, where he had not 
behaved as he should have done by her at 
the last, seeing the wife she'd made 
him, and the wile brute he'd been in 
life to her. 



ACQUITTED. 239 



Things being amicably settled, and Fisk 
having promised to pay up, directly he got 
his oO/. note, Mrs. Blore gladly lent him her 
front second-floor sitting-room, her best tea 
and coffee service, and all that was necessary 
for a nice little supper. She agreed to get 
him a fore -quarter of lamb, a dish of young 
peas, a salad and a fruit tart, although she 
had sworn she had no credit with butcher, 
grocer, or any other tradespeople. 

Fisk said he would order Sallylunns and 
a cake at a confectioner's shop, which for 
months he had made a circuit to avoid, as 
he owed two pounds there, and had been 
threatened with the County Court by the 
confectioner, but now he could fix a day for 
payment; as also at the wine merchant's, 
where he ordered half a dozen of champagne 
and two bottles of Oporto, rum, and 
brandv. 



At eight o'clock Fisk was in all his 
lory 



■© 

cr 1 



240 ACQUITTED. 



His tea-table was very nicely set out 
with shrimps and watercresses, Sallylunns 
toasted and buttered, a pound cake and a 
pot of marmalade, a pat of fresh butter, a 
fancy loaf, and excellent tea and coffee, with 
a liberal supply of cream. 

Fisk was in his best suit ; such a snowy 
expanse of glazed shirt front, the pattern 
being foxes' heads and faces in red-brown, 
with almost a human expression of cruelty 
and cunning. He had got some coral studs 
on a week's credit. 

His hair had been cut, curled, oiled, and 
scented by a hairdresser. 

He was flushed and excited with his own 
importance. 

A card-table was set out with two new 
packs of cards, and a pair of pink sper- 
maceti candles. 

Their couleur de rose seemed so to har- 
monize with his feeling and his fortunes ! 

Fisk was scented with Jockey Club 
bouquet, and he brandished a yellow silk 



ACQUITTED. 241 



pocket-handkerchief, in the centre of which 
was the winning horse of that Derby, and 
on the border all former winners, their 
names and those of the jockeys. 

.Mrs. Blore had put on her best dress, 
a scanty, turned, grass-green silk. 

She had fluttering pink satin ribbons in 
her cap, and three full-blown damask roses 
in front. 

The " gal" — that most oppressed of 
London Pariahs — was cleaned and tidied; 
a white apron of Mrs. Blore' s, and a collar 
and cuffs borrowed of Fisk (without his 
permission), made " Hue" (Euth was her 
real name) much less of an eyesore than 
usual. 

" Rue" took an intense interest in what 
seemed to her a sort of Lord Mayor's 
banquet. 

Her little weak eyes, generally half closed 
with drowsiness — for she went to bed very 
late and rose very early — were now wide 
open with wonder. 

vol. n. 16 



242 ACQUITTED. 



Wonder at Missus's silk " gound," " lovely 
cap/ 5 and " reg'lar cottoning" to " the second 
pair back," whom she had for many weeks 
done "no think but sarce;" wonder at all 
the dainties on the table, and, above all, the 
pink sperm candles ! 

Fisk could hardly himself have explained 
why he took so much trouble and went to 
so much expense on this occasion. 

It could not be for Messrs. Beagle, 
Brymer, and Co., for they had often supped 
with him in his bedroom on Calais oysters 
and draught porter, Mrs. Blore scowling as 
they went upstairs, and " Rue" not being 
allowed to answer " that fellow's" bell. 

It was all in honour of Paul Penryn. 

Strange to say, Paul had inspired the 
" horsey"' Fisk not only with a great liking 
but with intense respect. 

Fisk had the morgue aristocratique to a 
great degree. His mother had been an un- 
acknowledged illegitimate scion of a gentle- 
man's family 1 



ACQUITTED. 243 



Fisk felt and knew that Paul was a gen- 
tleraan. 

He honoured him for the name he bore, 
and for that manly, dignified, and moral 
conduct, that high principle and self-denial, 
which Fisk felt he could never emulate even 
if he tried to do so ! but which he had not 
courage and virtue enough to aim at. 

He wanted to make a very favourable im- 
pression on Paul Penryn, and he set about 
it in his own absurd, ill-judged way. 

Paul was punctual (punctuality was 
one of his minor virtues). In consequence 
of his arriving at the stroke of eight, he 
found Mrs. Blore and Fisk putting the 
finishing stroke to the tea-table. 

For twenty minutes Paul was tete-a-tete 
with Fisk. This interval Paul spent in try- 
ing to persuade Fisk to be satisfied with his 
actual " slice of luck," and never to tempt 
fortune again. 

Fisk, instead of taking this good advice, 
tried to make Paul a convert to his views — 

I6—2 



2U ACQUITTED. 



assured him he had found out the way to 
insure backing the winning horse ; and an- 
nouncing his determination after a few more 
successes, to throw up old Cottrell and his 
drudger} 7 at the warehouse, and to live by 
the turf as so many did. 

The three clerks arrived while this dis- 
cussion was going on. They " chaffed " 
Fisk on what they called his extensive " get 
up," and his "no end of a spread," and they 
talked a great deal of boasting nonsense in 
slang almost unintelligible to Paul. Still, 
all, taking their tone from Fisk, treated 
our hero with great deference and attention ; 
and Paul, so young, so good tempered, and 
so happy in the prospect of more chances of 
working hard to save his father, and to 
prepare the way to a happy little home with 
Mary, really enjoyed the excellent cheer, 
which was pressed upon him with more 
hospitality than good breeding. 

Mrs. Blore waited at tea herself, and curt- 
sied as she pressed Paul to take the least est 



ACQUITTED. 245 



bit more cake ; but she treated the other 
clerks rather de Jtaut en has, and when Brymer, 
thinking to conciliate her, said the roses in 
her cap were surpassed by those on her 
cheeks, she told him she hated pussonal re- 
marks, and that comparisons were hogus to 
her ! 

The good things on the tea-table looked, 
as Beagle said, rather "silly" before the 
party adjourned to the card-table. 

As only four could play — namely, Paul, 
Fisk, Brymer, and Beagle — the two junior 
clerks looked on, and were to cut in in 
turn. 

Finding this rather dull work, and Fisk 
having a box of dominoes, they settled to 
that exciting game ! 

It was nearly ten o'clock when the last 
postman sent an electric thrill through 
Fisk's frame by a loud, sharp double knock. 

" That's the toucher," he said, growing 
pale and red alternately with excitement. " I 
sent in my claim the day before yesterday, 



246 ACQUITTED. 



and I've no doubt that's the fifty — either 
a note or a cheque — I don't care two 
straws which !" 

Mrs. Blore entered with a face full of 
joyous meaning. She held the expected 
letter in her hand — a bluish, business-look- 
ing letter it was, with the Commision 
Agent's monogram on the adhesive. 

" Shall I open it now or at supper ?" said 
risk. 

" At supper," said Brymer, " with the 
first glass of champagne." 

Mrs. Blore had been listening at the door. 
She went heavily downstairs when she heard 
this, and drove " Eue" about " shameful" to 
get the supper up rather before the appointed 
time ! 

Eleven o'clock struck before the whist 
party broke up and adjourned to that well- 
served supper-table. Every one was helped 
to his fancy. 

Mrs. Blore was there to hand round the 
champagne. She had borrowed the ortho- 



ACQUITTED. 247 



dox champagne glasses from her next-door 
neighbour, who had a lodger who was a 
regular contributor to the shilling magazines, 
lived " fast/' and gave champagne suppers 
on pay day ! 

" Xow for it !" said Fisk. " Gentlemen, 
charge your glasses." 

A dead silence ensued. 

"With a cheek white and a hand trembling 
with excitement, Fisk tore open the envelope. 

A mist spread itself over the paper. 

A spasm contracted his throat. 

" The rogue ! the scoundrel !" burst from 
his now blue lips. 

He handed the letter to Paul. 

" Eead it out," he gasped, and then he 
leant back in his chair and burst into tears. 

Paul read — even his voice was rather 
husky with emotion. He had that best of 
hearts— "the heart that can feel for another." 

" Sir, — You have made a little error 
in your claim. You say you have calculated 



248 ACQUITTED. 



it by Bell's Life, but have lost sight of the 
fact that you betted on Mazeppa, not against 
him. Now, as the bets at starting were a 
hundred to eight on Mazeppa, you have won 
exactly twopence, which I will forward in 
postage stamps when you send in your 
amended claim. 

" I am, Sir, 

" Your obedient servant, 

" H. Whipster." 

"The robber! the regular do!" gasped 
Fisk. 

" Allow me, ; ' said Beagle. " Fisk, have 
you Bell's Life?" 

Fisk pointed to a side table, where the 
sporting oracle lay. 

Beagle examined the account of the race, 
the odds at starting point, calculated the 
result, ran his eye over the agent's letter,, 
and said — 

" It's all right, Fisk ; it's your mistake, 
not his." 



ACQUITTED. 249 



Again Fisk groaned — " Robber ! scoun- 
drel ! villain !" 

A shrill voice here broke in — " It's you're 
the robber, scoundrel, and villain ! you low, 
pitiful fellow ! It's my belief you know'd 
3'ou ? d won nothing all along, and only 
trumped up a pack o* lies about fifty pound 
to do me out of my rights, and let me in for 
another two pound ! That's my opinion, 
ye sneak ; and if I'm wrong, what a blind, 
ignorant jackass }'Ou must be to go betting 
and backing 'osses when you don't know 
their 'eads from their tails! But I'll bet 
you, and I'll back you to be out o' my house 
and into Whitecross Street before this day 
week. To go for to impose upon a unper- 
tected feemale — a lone widdee, and let me 
in to the toon of seventeen pound hodd ! 
Prison's too good for you, ye burglar ! ye 
Fenian ! You did ought to go to the 'Ouse 
o* Correction, and penial serwitood with 'ard 
labour, dry bread and water-gruel, and 'air 
cropped as close as the stubble. And so you 



250 ACQUITTED. 



shall, if there's justice to be 'ad for a lone 
widdee, who'll spend her last shillin' in law 
to get you punished as } r ou deserves, 
you beggarly, shuffling, sneak of a fel- 
low!" 

Fisk could say nothing : his flushed face 
drooped on the shirt-front, so gay with foxes' 
heads and coral studs, got on a week's credit : 
he could only groan. 

For a moment Paul was tempted — 
sorely tempted — to offer him wherewith to 
pay Mrs. Blore her " seventeen pound 
bodd," but he remembered (just in time) 
bow much greater a claim his poor loving 
father had on that money which he had 
earned, saved, and hoarded for him. He 
figured to himself that sensitive, loving 
father — whose only fault had been his credu- 
lity and confidence in a scoundrel — exposed, 
disgraced, tried, sentenced, and punished for 
breach of trust ! and then he thought how 
much better it was that Fisk, an idle, gam- 
bling spendthrift, should be taught a well- 



ACQUITTED. 251 



merited lesson, and perhaps saved from per- 
dition by the punishment he deserved, than 
that his comparatively guiltless father should 
die disgraced and broken hearted. So Paul 
compelled himself to silence, and Mrs. Blore 
— screaming for " Bue," who was listening 
at the door — began,with her " gal's " help, to 
attempt to lay violent hands on the wine 
and the viands, saying, " I'll have no more 
guzzling and gobbling here!" but Beagle 
and Brymer, determined not to be " done out 
of their spread," snatched the bottles from 
her hand, and the dish of cold lamb from 
Eue's. 

" Now hearken, old lady," said Beagle : " I 
don't like to lay a finger on a woman, but 
I'll stand no nonsense. My friend, Mr. 
Bisk, never meant to deceive you ; he's been 
taken in himself; and if you'd a heart in 
your bosom you'd feel for him to see him so 
knocked down as he is. You'll get your 
own in good time, but you mustn't take the 
law into your own hands. Touch the wine 



252 ACQUITTED. 



or anything else on the table again at your 
peril, for if you do we'll all carry you down- 
stairs and lock you up in your own coal- 
cellar till we've done supper and left the 
house, and then ' Eue ' there shall let you 
out." 

" Bravo !" cried Brymer and Co. ; and 
poor Fisk gasped out, " Thank you, Beagle, 
that's the ticket !" 

" You're a mean, pitiful lot of beggarly 
quill drivers !" screamed Mrs. Blore, " and 
I'll have your ringleader, my present lodger, 
in prison before this week's out." But she 
did not attempt to touch the wine or dishes 
again, but rushed downstairs, where she had 
a violent fit of kicking and screaming hys- 
terics. 

This sad disappointment spoiled the re- 
mainder of the evening. 

Poor Fisk could not rally. 

By Beagle's advice he went to bed before 
the street-door closed on them, and Paul re- 
turned to his quiet and very comfortable 



ACQUITTED. 



room at Mrs. Collins's, if possible confirmed 
in his horror of betting and horse-racing, 
and strengthened in his distrust of all ad- 
vertising Commission Agents connected with 
the turf. 



254 ACQUITTED. 




CHAPTER XVI. 

It was with thee the vernal dawn of life, 

When wayside themes, with blooming fancies rife, 

Skirt the dull high road, e'en as hedgerows hung 

With May's sweet blossoms." 

Charles Hunt. 

R. COTTRELL gave Paul Penryn 
so excellent a character, and the im- 
pression he made on B. B. (Benjamin 
Burton) and his family was so very favour- 
able, that he obtained that small appoint- 
ment at once. 

Benjamin Burton was about nineteen, 
good tempered and docile, but very slow, 
very dull, very backward, and almost unable 
to fix his attention on his work. If he 
could but obtain a degree at Oxford he was 



ACQUITTED. 



sure of a good living ; and as lie was a good 
pious youth, with a strong desire to be a 
clergyman, it was a great object with his 
mother (his father was no more) to get him 
proposed for matriculation. The first-class 
tutor who had undertaken to " coach" him, 
and at whose house young Burton attended 
daily for four hours, was stern, sarcastic, 
exacting, and disheartening. Young Burton 
did not get on with him at all ; but with 
Paul, who encouraged him, explained every- 
thing, simplified all difficulties, and never 
sneered or jeered at him, the progress he 
made was astonishing; and even the Rev. 
Mr. Travers, the Oxford first-class man (his 
tutor), began to have hopes of him, and to 
prophesy that he would do. 

These two lessons a week to so docile and 
amiable a youth became rather pleasant to 
Paul, more so than the appointment he also 
obtained — namely, that of reader to old 
Hamilton Pemberton. 

Paul had called on that quaint old college 



256 ACQUITTED. 



chum of his father, and had found him 
quite a character. 

Mr. Pemberton was a fine scholar and a 
gentleman, but of the most irascible, im- 
patient, and violent of tempers. 

He was very deaf, and in consequence he 
talked very loud, and was in a violent pas- 
sion when he could not hear all that was 
said. 

At first he received Paul with much 
courtesy and some interest as the son of his 
old friend. 

He proposed to pay Paul two guineas a 
week to read to him from seven till ten every 
evening (Sunday not excepted), only on 
Sunday the subject chosen was to be of a 
serious and religious character. 

When first Mr. Pemberton mentioned that 
he wished Paul to come to him on Sunday, 
Paul, who had been brought up in the strict 
observance of the Sabbath, said he could 
not properly attend in Bedford Square on 
Sunday. 



ACQUITTED. 257 



" Pray why not, sir ?" said old Pemberton, 
in a suppressed rage, bis bald bead and pale 
face flushing scarlet, and the veins in his 
temples filling. 

"I go to church twice on Sunday/' re- 
plied Paub " and I am accustomed to spend 
the rest of the day in quiet, in walking in 
the country, or in reading serious books." 

" And pray, sir, do you take me for a 
heathen? Did you suppose I meant to ask 
you to read Horace and Sophocles, Aristo- 
phanes or Juvenal on Sunday ? I, sir, go 
to church twice every day ; and what I was 
about to propose to you, sir, was to dine 
with me — a cold dinner, sir, but none the 
w r orse for that : — to dine with me every Sun- 
day, at two p.m., and then we could go to 
church together, sir, and return to tea at 
Ave, and spend the evening either in reading 
the Scriptures in Greek or studying the 
Fathers; and generally, when fine, devote 
part of the time to a country walk — thus 
reading that fair book of Nature in which 

VOL. II. 17 



258 ACQUITTED. 



in every leaf we recognise the Almighty 
hand !" 

Paul was amused at the strange contrast 
between the kindness and friendliness of this 
proposal, and the flashing eyes, flushed face, 
and furious tone in which the offer was made. 

Poor Paul ! He had his own private 
reasons for not exactly wishing to bind him- 
self to spend every Sunday afternoon with 
Mr. Pemberton, and so he thanked him for 
his kind invitation, and said that in a general 
way he should be happy to avail himself of 
it, but that as he had friends in town who 
would shortly be going abroad, and whom 
he could only visit conveniently on Sunday, 
he must reserve the privilege of occasionally 
absenting himself, and that in any case he- 
could only come as a friend on the Sabbath 
day. He could not work for him on that 
day. 

" I don't see why not, sir," shouted old 
Pemberton, " as long as the work you do is of 
a religious kind. Why, sir, your remark is an 



ACQUITTED. 259 



indirect reproach to the whole body of the 
clergy, sir, from the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, sir, down to the worst paid curate in 
Wales.'' 

" Still, sir, I can only agree to your kind 
proposal on the conditions I have named." 

" Very well, sir," said old Pemberton, with 
an expletive (he was, alas ! like most passion- 
ate men, rather given to their use). "I'll 
turn it over in my mind, sir — I'll turn it 
over in my mind. I don't want to force my 
company on any man. I suppose, at any 
rate, you can be here this evening at seven 
to commence our readings?" 

But this was one of young Burton's 
evenings, so old Pemberton, in a towering 
passion, was obliged to be content to begin 
the next evening. 

Paul when he got home was very glad to 
think he had not engaged himself to dine 
with Mr. Pemberton on Sunday; for he 
found on his table two notes — one from 
young Jasper Ardennes, inviting him to 

17-2 



260 ACQUITTED. 



dinner on Sunday, and one from Mary Lynn, 
begging him to accept the invitation, as the 
physicians who had met in consultation at 
Altamount House had decided on Jasper's 
leaving London at once, in the first instance 
for the German Spas, and then for the south 
of France. " He grows weaker every day," she 
added, u and I fear the doctors have not much 
hope of him. I believe Miss Osgood and 
my other pupils are to go abroad too, for 
the benefit of foreign languages and masters. 
Jasper declares he will not go at all unless I 
am of the party ; but if her ladyship persists 
in going too, I am certain it will be impos- 
sible for me to continue with the family. 
Lord Derwent cannot accompany his son, he 
has such very important business, both 
private and political, to attend to ; but of 
course, should his dear one get worse, he 
will leave everything to be with him. When 
he is present Lady Derwent is under some 
restraint, and is compelled to be decently 
civil to me, but were she abroad with Jasper, 



ACQUITTED. 261 



and Lord Derwent in England, I am certain 
she could not conceal and control her hatred 
and jealousy. My prospects, then, dear 
Mr. Paul, are very unsettled ; but if you 
come to us on Sunday we can talk them 
over together, and, at any rate, I hope I 
have so far profited by the education I have- 
received from Miss Osgood and the masters 
attending this noble family, that I can earn 
my own livelihood as a governess, and greatly 
assist my kind dear parents, who have had 
some heavy losses of late, one of my mother's 
cows having died of the cattle plague, and 
dear father bavins: lost one of his flshing- 
boats, and very nearly lost his dear precious 
life. I heard from home yesterday, and am 
pleased to add that Eosy is grown very 
useful and steady, and is become mother's 
right hand. Your honoured father has been 
very poorly of late, but is a little better 
now. The Vicar, I am sorry to say, has been 
very ill, and our people have not seen Mrs. 
Dorcas's niece, 'the Veiled Lady,' as you 



*2C>2 ACQUITTED. 



used to call her, for a long time. Lord and 
Lady Altamount and Lady Derwent are 
still at the Castle with the rest of the family, 
but my Lord Altamount has had a bad 
attack of the gout, and still keeps his room. 
I hope you will come early ; perhaps you 
will be at our church in the afternoon, and 
then we can all take a walk in the Park and 
so home together. On account of Master 
Jasper, who is forbidden by the doctors to 
dine late, we shall have dinner on the table 
at five o'clock. I hope nothing will prevent 
you coming. And am ever, dear Mr. Paul, 
" Your grateful and attached, 

"Mary Lynn.*' 

Paul had another invitation for this same 
Sunday. To his great surprise, Mr. Cottrell 
not only asked, but pressed him on Saturday 
to 2*0 down with him to "The Larches, " to 
spend Sunday and return on Monday. 

Paul pleaded a prior engagement, and on 
Mr. Cottrell asking to whom he was engaged, 
he told him to Lord Altamount. 



ACQUITTED. 263 



The fact was, Rhoda, whose cheek alter- 
nately deadly pale and brightly flushed, had 
greatly alarmed her doating father, had said, 
" Papa, I feel very dull and low spirited, and 
I have nothing to amuse me here. I wish 
you would invite Mr. Penryn to come down 
with you on Saturday and stay till Mon- 
day. I like him much better than the 
other clerks. He is really rather clever and 
entertaining, and he promised to show me 
how to dry flowers and make shell bouquets/' 

Mr. Cottrell was a little deceived by the in- 
different, half- playful manner of his darling. 
" That," he said to himself, " is not the way 
in which a girl speaks of a man she is in 
love with." He replied, " Look, my pet, I'll 
invite him, but I can't answer for his coming. 
I think he has some old Pencombe friends 
in town, and the last time I invited him I 
know he was engaged to them." 

" If he refuses, papa," said Rhoda, still in 
the same unconcerned tone, " do ask him 
the names of the people he is engaged to. 



264 ACQUITTED. 



I saw him as I drove to your warehouse 
talking to some people in a coroneted car- 
riage. There was a very nice-looking girl, 
and such a very interesting young man, but 
so pale and thin, I so want to know whc- 
they were." 

It was to satisfy Ehoda's curiosity that 
Mr. Cottrell questioned Paul on the sub- 
ject. To his wilful darling he had said, — - 
"Khoda, my pet, where is Lord Snowdon? 
I have not seen him for some days. Have 
you and he had a lovers' quarrel ?" 

"No, papa," she replied, tossing her 
pretty head, "for we are not lovers. I be- 
lieve Lord Snowdon is gone down to one of 
his country seats." 

"And when is he coming back again?" 

" I don't know, papa," she replied, red- 
dening. " Perhaps not at all." 

" Nay, if that's the case, I consider that 
he has behaved very ill indeed, Ehoda, and 
I fear you think so too, my love, and are 
fretting about it in secret. He has paid 



ACQUITTED. 261 



you such exclusive, such particular atten- 
tion, that I fully expected him to have pro- 
posed to you ere this ; for though he is a 
nobleman, and I have made my money in 
trade, yet a girl of your beauty and accom- 
plishments, in her first bloom, with fifty 
thousand down and heiress to all I possess, 
is a very good match for him, and much 
better than he deserves. Tell me, my dar- 
ling," said poor old Cottrell, drawing Ehoda 
on to his knee, '"'tell me, did you not ex- 
pect him to propose to you ? Be candid 
witli poor papa. If that stuck-up, proud 
popinjay of fifty has jilted my lovely darling 
of seventeen, old as I am and as he is, I 
must have it out with him ! Xo pistols or 
swords, though, but a good tough wrestle, 
man to man. I'll teach him what a Cornish 
hug means, and if I don't double him up, 
and throw him too, in five minutes, I'm not 
the same Colin Cottrell who fought and won 
the famous wrestling match with Joe Tre- 
vanion, the champion, twenty years ago." 



266 ACQUITTED. 



" Papa," said Rhoda, hiding her nice on 
her father's bosom, " Lord Snowdon has 
done nothing to deserve your anger." 

"Nothing!" observed old Cottrell, "no- 
thing ! Is it nothing to win my darling's 
affections, and then, having courted her per- 
se veringly for three months, and made me 
and all her friends believe he meant to pro- 
pose, heartlessly to jilt her? Is that 
nothing ? He shall find I don't consider it 
nothing !" 

" Papa," said Ehoda, " I see I must tell 
you all. Lord Snowdon never won my 
affections ; and he did propose to me !" 

" And you refused him ?" 

" Yes, papa. I could not love him." 

" But you would have loved him in time, 
Ehoda." 

" Oh, no, papa. I liked him less and less 
every time I saw him ; and when he actually 
proposed to me to be his wife — his for ever — 
to leave you, and live with him all the rest 
of my days, I felt I almost hated him !" 



ACQUITTED. 267 



"Bhoda," said old Cottrell, " this is a great 
disappointment to rue." 

" Why, papa, how could I swear to love, 
honour, and obey a man I do not like — cannot 
honour, and do not feel at all disposed to 
obey ? How could I leave my dear lovely 
home, where I am as free as a wild bird, to 
live in grand formal houses with a stiff, 
elderly man ? I remember, papa, you told 
me your mother wanted you to rnarry a girl 
with money, but you were in love with my 
mother, and you pleased yourself." 

" Ah ! but then I was in love with your 
mother, Ehoda ; but you are not in love 
with any one.'' 

" But I may be some day," said Ehoda, 
blushing deeply ; " and then if I were Lady 
Snowdon, and found out too late what love 
is, think what a miserable creature your 
poor Rhoda would be ! Xo, dear, dear papa ! 
I love you, and I love my home, and I don't 
want to leave either of you ; and I do 
wonder," she added, with a pretty pout, 



268 ACQUITTED. 



" that you are in such a very great hurry to 
get rid of your poor Rhoda." 

She threw her arms round her father's 
neck as she spoke, and he felt that after all 
"The Larches " would be very dull and 
lonely if his darling were no longer there to 
welcome him back from the city, and to do 
the honours to his friends. 

" Then is Lord Snowdon seriously 
offended, Rhoda?" lie asked. 

" Oh no, papa ; he said he should not 
consider my refusal as final : he would give 
me time to think about it ; and he begged 
me to grant him my friendship, and to re- 
ceive him as a friend when he comes back 
from ' The Moors.' He begged hard for a 
lock of my hair, but I would not give him 
t/iaf, because I look upon that as a love 
token, but I did agree to receive and answer 
his letters, solely as the letters of a friend, 
and I daresay I shall hear from him in a day 
or two. And now, darling papa, that I have 
told you all, you will see I am not letting 



ACQUITTED. o 69 



' concealment, like a worm i' the bud, feed 
on my damask check.' I have not been 
'jilted,' but I am very dull and lonely now 
Lucy Manners is in the North ; and I think 
all the other clerks so stupid, forward, and 
vulgar, and such Guys, such caricatures, I 
want you to bring Mr. Penryn down, just 
to enliven me a little." 

'Very well, my pet; I will ask him; 
but you mustn't fall in love with young 
Penryn, Rhoda. He's a good youth, but I 
much fear his father is a ruined man, and 
my heiress mustn't stoop and pick up 
nothing." 

" The idea of my falling in love with 
Mr. Penryn, papa !" said Rhoda. " Why, 
he has never paid me any attention, and has 
never made any effort to see me. I believe 
he's in love with that beautiful dark-haired, 
black-eyed girl I saw him with, and whom 
he handed into a coroneted carriage at the 
entrance to St. Paul's Churchyard. Papa, 
your Rhoda ' must be wooed and not un- 



270 ACQUITTED. 



sought be won!' In love, indeed! and with 
Mr. Penryn, too l" 

She spoke with so easy a grace and so 
playful an indifference that her father's sus- 
picions were quite diverted, and he promised 
to do all she wished. Indeed, he felt much 
disappointed when Paul, on the plea of a 
prior engagement, refused to go down with 
him to " The Larches." 

It was a bitter disappointment to Ehoda 
(who was watching the road from an upper 
window of the villa) when she saw the seat 
in the phaeton by her father's side vacant, 
nor was she much consoled when she heard 
that he was engaged to Lord Derwent, for 
he haclspoken to her of poor Jasper Ardennes, 
and out of the fulness of his heart, had de- 
scribed the rare beauty, virtues, and talents, 
of the young sub-governess, Mary Lynn. 

Ehoda tried to hide her real anguish under 
a forced gaiety, but her hand was so hot, her 
eyes so unnaturally bright, her cheek alter- 
nately so deadly pale and so brightly pink, 



ACQUITTED. 271 



that Mr. Cottrell became very uneasy, and 
would have sacrificed everything to take her 
on another tour, but that she assured him 
she infinitely preferred staying at " The 
Larches." 

To leave the county where Paul Penryn 
was, seemed to this passionate girl, deeply in 
love for the first time, a banishment too 
deadly to be even contemplated. 

What a pity that such treasures of tender- 
ness should be wasted ! 

Why is secret, unrequited love the 
strongest and most lasting love of all ? 



END OF VOL. II. 



LONDON: 

8AVILL, EDWARDS AND CO., PRINTERS, CHANDOS STREET, 

COVENT GARDEN. 



rn Q^Jt t~ ' <V Mf~» <? A i' Wl ff~ i d^. iW«a 



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Price £3 5s., 19 Vols., bound in cloth. 
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JACK HINTON 
HARRY LORREQUER ■ 
THE O'LONO&HUE 
THE FORTUNES OE GLENCORE - 
BARRIN&TON 
LHTTRELL OE ARRAN 
SIR JASPER CAREW - 
MAURICE TIERNAY - 
A DAY'S RIDE 
OBE OE THEM 

A RENT IN A CIOUD and ) 
ST. PATRICK'S EYE J 
CHARLES O'MALLEY - 
THE DALTONS 
MIGHT OE GWYNNE - 
THE DODD FAMILY ABROAD - 
TOM BURKE OE "OURS" 
DAYENPORT DUNN 
ROLAND CASHEL 
MARTINS OE CRO' MARTIN - 

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1 6 Illustrations. 
1 6 Illustrations. 
1 6 Illustrations. 

Frontispiece. 
1 6 Illustrations. 
1 6 Illustrations. 

Frontispiece. 

Frontispiece. 

Frontispiece. 
1 6 Illustrations. 

1 6 Illustrations. 

24 Illustrations. 
24 Illustrations. 
24 Illustrations. 
24 Illustrations. 
24 Illustrations. 
24 Illustrations. 
24 Illustrations. 
24 Illustrations. 



CHAPMAN & HALL, 193, Piccadilly. 
a Select Library Edition, 19 vols., in roxburghe bind., price £2 15s. 

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ANTHONY TROLLOPE'S WORKS 

NEW AND CHEAPER EDITION. 
/Vz'« 2s. each, Picture Boards j zs. 6d. Clotk. 



Ji 



I0TTA SCHMIDT. MART G-RESLET. 

DOCTOR THORNE. RACHEL RAT. 

THE MACEERMOTS. TALES OE ALL COUNTRIES 

CASTLE RICHMOND. MISS MACKENZIE. 

THE KELLTS. THE BERTRAMS. 

BELTON ESTATE. WEST INDIES. 



Price 4s. Cloth (Double Vols.), price 3J. Picture Boards. 

ORLET FARM. CAN TOIT EORGTVE HER? 

PHINEAS HOT. HE KNEW HE WAS RI&HT. 

" In one respect Mr. Trollope deserves praise that even Dickens 
and Thackeray do not deserve. Many of his stories are more true 
throughout to that unity of design, that harmony of tone and colour, 
which are essential to works of art. In one of his Irish stories, 'The 
Kellys and the O'Kellys/the whole is steeped in Irish atmosphere ; 
the key-note is admirably kept throughout ; there is nothing irre- 
levant, nothing that takes the reader out of the charmed circle of 
> the involved and slowly unwound bead-roll of incidents. We say 
nothing as to the other merits of the story— its truth to life, the 
excellence of the dialogue, the naturalness of the characters — for 
Mr. Trollope has these merits nearly always at his command. He 
has a true artist's idea of tone, of colour, of harmony ; his pictures 
are one ; are seldom out of drawing ; he never strains after effect ; 
is fidelity itself in expressing English life ; is never guilty of cari- 
cature We remember the many hours that have passed 

smoothly by, as, with feet on the fender, we have followed heroine 
after heroine of his from the dawn of her love to its happy or 
disastrous close, and one is astounded at one's own ingratitude in 
, writing a word against a succession of tales that ' give delight and 
J hurt not' " — Fortnightly Review. 

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UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA 




3 0112 042048121